Healing Journey - Days 46-48

Post-Post Psychological Apocalypse

After finishing my last blog post around 5 AM, I am AMPED. I start to drift off at 8 AM, even though I have big plans of spending all day at the baths. I toy around with the idea of not sleeping and heading over there super early with the hardcore bathing locals, but my self-care self decides against it. Instead, I set an alarm for 12:30 PM.

Shockingly, I am pretty energized when my alarm goes off. I throw on my swimsuit, collect my bath-going supplies, and set out over the bridge to Rudas.

Rudas is my favorite. Less touristy, more ancient-feeling, AND they have a Blade-Runner-style rooftop bath where you can overlook downtown and watch the sunset. Which I do.

Overheard/seen in the rooftop bathing pod:

Guy and girl are displaying all sorts of PDA.

Laughing, pawing, and smooching ensues.

Guy and girl float over to my side of the pod, and engage in a heated convo.

Guy is trying to explain to girl why he wants to get married someday.

Girl is horrified. “I can spend a lifetime without marriage. That way, I can leave a person whenever I want. Marriage is just about passing along a genetic seed, anyway.”

Guy stumbles over his words.

Girlfriend: “You can't even explain why you want to get married.”

Guy continues to stumble.

It turns into a fight, and they both get out of the pool flustered and uncertain of their own reasoning behind their beliefs.

Side note: I used ZERO online dating apps while abroad. In London, I was all over them, in fear that I would meet no humans in person. This time, I made a conscious effort not to spend time looking at my phone, swiping the day away. And I think I’m officially done with the dating app scene. I can do it. I can talk to a real human in real time. My Argentinian gentleman helped awaken the possibility of authentic connection, which had grown a garden of spider webs over the years.

I spend almost 6 hours at the baths, and it was THE perfect way to enjoy my next-to-last full day in Budapest. And I TOLD you, bathing is exhausting. I manage to pass out at 1 AM-ish that night. My intention is to take a boat tour up to the Danube Bend in the morning, and visit an adorable castle town called Visegrad. But I’m torn, cause part of me wants to spend my last day wandering around Budapest, savoring all the final moments of our deeply personal affair. I set my alarm early so I can decide what to do when I wake up.

Alarm startles me at 8:45 AM in the midst of palpably vivid dreams, which I'm too disoriented to remember to remember. After 3 snoozes, I lurch myself out of bed and sprint to the bathroom, thinking at least adrenaline can get me through: I'm going to Visegrad, baby!

One of the beauties of aging: I don't give a SHIZZ what I look like right now, so I'm ready in less than 10 minutes, and that INCLUDES my daily oil pulling routine. Mandy the Multi-Tasker. 

I speed-walk to the ticket station, realizing I could've purchased a ticket online to save 15%. BUT, Spirit wasn't ready for me to buy it last night, I reassure myself. 

On the way, I snap this pic. My friend Shelli and I visited Budapest almost exactly 10 years ago, and we snapped an almost identical pic, which is the 2nd image. This is meaningful because if you turn around with your back to the water and you walk down one block and make a left, I am staying in an Airbnb RIGHT THERE. Totally unplanned (and totally unremembered that we took this pic 10 years ago.) How crazy are life’s synchronicities?!?!?!

My original goal was to arrive at the station at 9:30 AM, as the clerk advised when I stopped by the other evening to inquire about the ticket-purchasing process. I arrive at 9:39, and I find my speed impressive considering I left my house at 9:27, and Google Maps said ... Oh, it said it would take 12 minutes. Ok, well at least I didn't eff that up.

I reach the window, and the cashier and I engage in a fun game of what-the-fuck-are-you-saying, until we finally get each other, and she tells me NO MORE TICKETS.

Ughhhhhhhhhassddrthiiokjfsaa.

CRUSHED. 

I plead. Maybe I can wait to see if someone doesn't show?

Vigorous head shake.

Are you sure? I mean, is it possible I can squeeze in somewhere?

THE BOAT IS FULL, she reconfirms.

I sink into the bench outside the ticket office, and re-plan my day. Ok, well, I guess I was meant to spend more time in the city. I could go to Godollo Castle, or I could go back home and do laundry and pack and maybe go to a different ruin bar tonight. I guess Spirit didn’t want me on that River today.

A few minutes later, I hear the ticket-taker's voice, and she has a big smile on her face.

YOU CAN BUY TICKET!!!

AHHHHHHH. You were faking me out, Spirit!!! You are such a trickster!!!

And 5 minutes later … I’m on a BOAT, mofos!!!

I settle into a seat by the window, and I cannot contain my excitement. I’m smiling so hard my face hurts.

Boat starts up around 10:00 am, and leisurely motors along so we can grab all the touristy shots of Buda Castle and the Parliament.

Once we pass those structures, we start going FAST. It's like a speedboat on steroids. I stick my head out the side door, and I feel like a dog with her head out the car window, stupid grin on her face, jowls flapping, drool flying. I even have to close my eyes cause I'm afraid the wind will blow the contacts right off of my eyeballs. THAT FAST. I am in heaven. 

This is awesome. WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. (I literally think to myself.)

The weather is beyond perfect, and we see so many cute towns, ridiculous cloud formations, and unique buildings.

And, we see this bridge! It’s an A … for Amazing. A for adventure. A for--obvi--Amanda. "Siiiiiiiign, siiiiign, everywhere a sign ...". I am headed in the right direction. Thanks, Spirit.

I am, however, starting to feel a little tickle in my throat, and very low energy due to day 3 of not enough sleep. Popping the OnGuard lozenges like whoa.

After about an hour of boating bliss, we arrive at Visegrad. I feel like a kid at the McDonald’s jungle gym.

Quickly, I scarf a snack, and then make my way up to the castle, map from a local hotel in tow. It’s quite a steep climb, but I’m stocked with water and comfy shoes. Let’s DO this.

I trek up these stairs.

Then I turn up a cobble stone street. And I hear them. They are not far behind. And there’s a LOT of them. I’m most definitely outnumbered.

SCREAMING CHILDREN.

There’s a swarm of them after me. 

I try to outrun them through the entrance and up the cobblestone street but they're gaining on me.

There’s nowhere to hide, only one road, and I can’t turn back now.

I’m speed-walking as best I can, but I slowly begin running out of breath.

I stop to recover.

It’s too late.

They’ve cornered me.

I'm trapped.

That last one looked vicious.

Suddenly, by the grace of a shiny medieval distraction, they change direction, and I escape unharmed.

Back on the trail.

I reach a fork in the road, and based on the illustrated map, it’s relatively clear that I go right. SO, I go right.

I’m walking along for about 10 minutes, and I start to feel like this might not be the right way. And there are no signs. Panic sets in, especially when I see THIS place, and recall what the Hungarian Airbnb lady said—to be careful since certain unsavory folks would absolutely love to cash in on me for ransom or worse.

Make no mistake, despite my battles with low self-esteem, I know without question that I am worth a LOT in this country. 

Panic cresendos.

THEN.

I remember! 

Spirit, am I going the right way?

Yep, just keep on trucking. 

Why do I have so much doubt?

Because you are too dependent on your own mind.

Alrighty, then. I'll keep on trucking.

10 minutes later, A SIGN!!!

Indicating that my desired destination is in the opposite direction.

Spirit, SHAME on you. You lied!

No, my dear, you are always going the right way. 

Ahhhhh, time to get all spiritual, eh?

I make the trek back down, the Castle far, far away but in my view.

The street I should be on is right on the other side of these trees.

I could wade through the woods. I mean, it's probs only like a hundred steps in.

Nah, let's not do that, Mandy.

I retrace my steps until I see a hidden staircase that seems to be the one that leads up to the castle.

Maaaannnn, what the heck!!! You’d think there would have been be a sign at the beginning of the road, like, Castle! This Way!

Oh, wait. There was

I’ve been in this place for almost 2 hours already and still have not arrived. I guess Spirit isn't ready to deliver yet …

Up the forest path I go. Again, children. But smaller and less screamy.

Very soon, I sense I'm headed in the wrong direction again.

Ohhhhhh, OOOHHHHHH! Signs, Mandy. Look for the S.I.G.N.S.ZZZZZZZZ.

Dang, it is steep on this trail!!!

How in the heck did those little kids hike up here?!?!?!

I think to myself in a grandma voice, “well, Shirley, my heart just ain't workin’ like it use TA!’

Speaking of hearts.

The place I’m headed to for lunch is surrounded by the Earth’s heart chakra. Here’s what the hotel website has to say about it:

"According to the work titled Gaia Theory published by NASA, the heart chakra of our Earth lays in the Carpathian Basin, in the Pilis Mountains. It is not a tiny place (compared to the size of the Earth) with a diameter of a few meters somewhere in Dobogókő, but it is the entire Pilis Mountains, moreover, many even say,the entire Carpathian Basin. While the Dalai Lama, upon his visit to Hungary, first rushes tothe Pilis Mountains, which he regards as the most important and most wonderful place of the world, the heart chakra of the Earth, and the ambassador of India regularly visits Dobogókő “to charge up”, the people living in Budapest, onlyhalf an hour drive from the Sacred Mountains, and the people living in Hungary, in general,still have no clue how valuable aplace they were born to. As according to the followers of ancient, pure religions, the heart of the Earth lays in the Carpathian Basin, more precisely in the Pilis Mountains. Our ancestors did not accidentally name the peak in the centre of the territory Dobogókő (beating stone). Once upon a time, with the help of the surrounding Danube,the Pilis region had a perfect heart shape itself, as it is also a fact that the peaks of the these mountainsreflect the positions of the main stars in the sky. To verify all this, it’s enough to just have a look at the map or to wander in the region. In 2005 Nepalese priests said that they had been praying for the Earth every day. Now “the Earth is in labour and giving birth to the future in the Carpathian Basin.”

During his stay in Hungary the Nepalese head of the Royal White Monastery of Nepal addressed the Hungarian people with the following words: "You Hungarians cannot even imagine how proud you may be of your nation, of your Hungarian nationality. We know for sure that the world’s mental, psychical and spiritual rebirth will commence in your country. The world’s heart chakra is in your country, in the Pilis Mountains.”

The hotel is surrounded by the sine curve of the heart chakra, the most important chakra of the Earth’s seven main energy chakras. The Danube as the river of Life draws with itsbig curve the motion graphic (jin-jang) characteristicof the two basic qualitiesin the Danube Bend. The centre of the female qualityis in the castle hill of Visegrád, and the centre of the masculine counterpart is in the Börzsöny Mountains. The most intense energy flow between the two poles can be measured on the Black Hill along the Visegrád-Nagymaros axle. This flow surrounds Silvanus Hotel."

Could this trip get any more perfect?!?!?!

After about 20 minutes of huffing and puffing up the forest pathway, I hear screaming children once again. The Mecca on high must be near.

Tricksters. I see the sign this time!

STAIRS!

I reach the top, FINALLY.

I write a most crucial letter in my mind:

Dear Map Designers,

Could you be a wee bit clearer that the road up the hill is in fact a PATH THROUGH A DARK FOREST and not a clearly designated road? 

K, Thanks.

Love, Demanda. 

Yeah, so, you can get here by bus. I've just reenacted the pivotal scene from M. Night Shyamalan's The Village.

Here I go up another set of stairs.

And at last, the moment I’ve been waiting for. Dunakanyar. Otherwise known as … The Danube Bend.

WOWOWEEEWAA is literally the only way to describe this place.

Y'all, I almost left on Tuesday and went to London. Could you imagine if I did that? (I've been saying that to myself a lot during this trip. Could you imagine if you missed that train? Could you imagine if Airbnb didn’t exist? Could you imagine if you never met the witch doctor? Could you imagine if you accidentally deleted this blog post after 2 hours of waiting for pictures to upload?!?!). I'm happy to report that Spirit is on my side and allows me to deliver these IN.SANE. photos to you. (I hope this makes you feel like we are not alone. We are together.)

After 3 hours of strenuous hiking, my hunger starts rising like a burning, churning steam engine. So I say my goodbyes to the Castle, and hunt for the Hotel Silvanus, which has food AND an infinity pool.

First, more vague navigation.

Which stairs would you take?

I magically find my way up to the fancy hotel. Lunch is unexpectedly delish, and cheap for a fancy hotel, and I hurriedly finish up so I can spend time at the Wellness Center. I only have 2 hours left due to my detour situation.

It’s flipping freezing outside, so I jump into the non-heated infinity pool, pretend I’m not screaming on the inside, snap these shots, and bolt inside to the jacuzzi.

By 5 PM, I realize I have only 50 minutes to get to the boat, and it’s a half hour walk to the opposite side of the town from the loading dock. It’s a small town, but still, I’m cutting it close. I sprint down the hillside, and it’s overwhelmingly exhilarating. I feel like I’m flying. I stop every now and again to capture images like these.

I descend so stealthily down the hill that I reach the boat with 10 minutes to spare. And the boat is virtually empty, so I have full reign of the boat land, popping in and out of windows to watch the river water kick up behind us and marvel at the beauty of the Earth.

I am supremely satisfied with my trip. You can absolutely do Visegrad in a day. But if I had a do-over, here’s my ideal itinerary so I wouldn’t be rushed and could bask in each of these most majestic of lands:

Day 1: Mahart Passnave Hydrofoil from Budapest to Estergom – stay overnight

Day 2: Catch the Hydrofoil from Estergom to Visegrad at 5:30 PM – stay overnight

Day 3: Catch the Hydrofoil at 5:30 PM from Visegrad to Szentendre – stay overnight

Day 4: Catch the HEV from Szentendre train station back to Budapest--last one is around 10:30 pm

By 6:58 PM, I am back in Budapest. I unload my bag at home, spend 30 minutes cleaning, and then walk over to the bridge to watch the sunset.

This is my last night here. I am beside myself with gratitude and sadness. What an incredible, unexpected growth experience. I truly feel like a changed woman. I say an impromptu thank-you prayer on the bridge, and contemplate the future. I’m so curious about the person I'll be when I see you again, BP.

Originally, I planned to wander through Raday Street and have dinner at one of the multitude of Etterems. However, I pull myself out of Mandyland, and clock that I have very little time to clean the rest of the house, pack and sleep. Instead, I check out the Sardinian wine bar that’s on the 1st floor of my building. I’ve passed by it every day for 30 days, but always felt too intimidated to enter. For whatever reason, it didn’t feel entirely welcoming. But, tonight, all of that changes.

I enter a virtually empty dark-wooded tavern. I snuggle into a bench near the bar, and allow the bartender to choose my adventure: Sardinian cheese, white wine, and a stew.

It’s cozy, and easy, and I’m so proud of myself that I chose the practical dinner location option. I’ll be home in 60 minutes, and in bed before midnight.

During dinner, the most fitting songs cycle though:

First, a song that repeats the lyrics, “the best thing to be, free as a bird.”

Then, “Do we need somebody just to feel like we’re alright. Is the only reason you're holding me tonight because we're scared to be lonely.”

THEN. They played Sad Song, and I lost it. Crying all over my Sardinian delicacies. I'm bawling, bending over in my seat pretending I'm looking for something I dropped on the floor but really I'm evacuating the snot in my nose and catching the overflowing tears from my eyes.

ANNNNDDD THHHENNNNN. 

“So suddenly I’m in love with a stranger.”

Ok, so maybe I didn't fall in love with my Argentinian stranger but I do feel he ignited something within me that's been dormant for a long time. Since my last long-term commitment, which was roughly a year ago, I've been abstinent, only breaking from that once (perhaps a story for another blog post). I want that when I connect with someone, the experience has meaning (see, I'm creating meaning here! There is meaning in the world after all!), and I haven't felt the timing has been right. The Argentinian moved me—AND while remaining abstinent—and he has no idea what an impact he had (unless he’s reading this, then he knows). His sweetness, his honesty, his authenticity, his generosity of spirit--it restored my faith. 

Also, I'm ovulating. So I love pretty much every man I see right about now.

ON CUE. The Caribbean island version of Sexual Healing plays. For realzzzzz.

T.H.E.N., the owner sits with me, two glasses of dessert wine in hand. I initially think he might be gay but then I realize he's just Italian. We engage in a 2-hour conversation, I share Peppermint oil with him and his head almost explodes, and he asks me what oils are good for blood flow and circulation (I wonder what for …) and we drink a bottle and a half of wine. He takes my business card, and then writes to me the next morning, requesting that I stay in touch and reach out if I’m ever in Budapest again. He cannot pinpoint why—sometimes it’s just magnetism, or maybe it’s those essential oils …

Can’t sleep despite 2 AM exhaustion. It just so happens to be the most powerful full moon of the year. When I think about the timing of this trip, it kinda blows my mind. I arrived in Budapest at the start of the retrograde, which is traditionally a time to relax, restore, rejuvenate, reflect—all the “re’s”, and then I leave on the morning after the full moon, when you’re meant to shed what no longer serves you, release painful emotions, and surrender to all that is. Just, wow.

And then, it ends. I awake at 6 AM, fired up on adrenaline, and shortly thereafter find myself on a FlixBus to Prague, and Budapest is a mere memory.

Even though I was alone--alone in Hungary, alone in the sense that one can never fully experience my experience since it is uniquely my own--I do not feel alone. The blogging was such a gift. To share my experience and connect with all of you throughout this journey. I felt like you were with me, and it made the trip all that more special. Thank you for reading and witnessing. 

It ain’t over yet. I still have over a week before I’m back in LA. Stay tuned for my Czech Republic shenanigans.

Healing Journey - Days 41-45

I took a serious hiatus in blogging. I had planned to post on Friday evening, but those plans were thwarted by an incredibly intense mental breakdown, which I'll dive into as this post unfolds.

FIRST! A recap of what I'll refer to as "Before the Psychological Apocalypse."

Thursday, 5/4/17. The most magical of all Thursdays.

My very special excursion for today, which I mentioned in my last blog post, received a delicate modification.

I originally intended to take a picturesque boat tour through the Danube Bend (Szentendre, Visegrad, and Esztergom). I was completely prepared to follow through with that, and even blogged early Wednesday night. However, I did not crash until 2:30 am and would’ve had an alarm go off at 8:00 am. Not happening. Didn’t happen.

I awake at 11:30 am, a little groggy but mostly refreshed and entirely grateful I did not push for the early wakeup. After 20 minutes of mulling and research, I decide to go to Szentendre anyways and take the suburban railway. Live like a local, right?!

Before I ready myself, I check the weather report, which says "cloudy," so I am nervous my special adventure will be foiled. But once I make my way outside, I understand that by “cloudy,” the nice digital weatherman meant "clouds in the sky," like these--of the awe-inspiring cumulus variety. 

I hop on one of those old-school trams today and can’t figure out how to validate my ticket. I almost have a nervous breakdown at every stop, anxiously awaiting a large stocky Hungarian train policeman to board and yell at me for being a useless American who can't do anything right, and then fine me $200 or slap handcuffs on me and haul me off to Hungarian prison. I slink off one stop early because I can't take the heat, and I'm too embarrassed to ask anyone how to do it. No one offers either.

Yet another shout out to the impeccable timing. My trip to Kiraly yesterday prepared me for knowing where to go to catch the HEV train today. Deciphering the pathway to new adventures is a wee bit stressful, so this made for a smoother journey.

Compared to the boat trip, the HEV line is a far less glamorous mode of transportation but there is a pretty view of the Danube out the window, and then we travel through a quaint hills-and-valleys area.

Roughly 40 minutes after departing Budapest, I arrive at the Szentendre train station, with 18 oz of water and a 16 oz smoothie patiently waiting to evacuate my bladder. The toilet at the end of the track is like a mirage in the desert – as I approach, I discover it costs 200 HUF, which I don't have. I mean, I do, I have 10,000 HUF but the bathroom clerk would likely freak on me if I hand that bill over. I meander, allowing my internal compass to guide me (who am I kidding, I am following a group that seemed to know where they were going). My instinct draws me into a coffee shop that has free bathrooms! Bladder is happy.

This place is utterly and completely … ADORABLE. Imagine 20 puppies bum-rushing you to knock you over and lick your face. That's what it felt like to walk through the streets of this town on a warm, bird-chirping, breezy day. I read reviews from people saying this was the most boring part of their trip, so I was nervous. I see now that those people have no soul.

I bask in the rays of the sun, saunter along the Danube, relax at Gorog Restaurant, read my book (You are a Badass), and soak of up every moment of joyous Spring freedom.

Around 6 PM, I decide it’s time to leave, sadly, because I want to catch the sunset from Fisherman’s Bastion—which is poetic because it’s the first sight I passed by when I arrived in Budapest 4 weeks ago, and so much has happened since then. I hop back on the HEV, now an expert at suburban travels, and get back to Budapest right at 7 PM.

My phone dies. I am heartbroken. Even moreso because it teases me. It has 20% left, and I shut it off thinking I would save some juice. This plan is thwarted—every time I turn it back on, it stays on for about 5 seconds, and then shuts off again, EVEN THOUGH it has 20% left. My phone is just like me—NO NAPPING. On the rare occasion that I nap, I’m the tiredest, crankiest mofo you’ve ever seen when I wake up. My eyes do NOT want stay open for more than 5 seconds. I feel you, iPhone. I forgive you.

The sunset was gorgeous. I did manage to snap a few photos during the 5 seconds my phone opened its eyes to yell at me that it was going back to sleep. I did this routine about 5 times and snapped one photo each time before it really told me to eff off, and turned in for the night.

By the end of the evening, I’m feeling a little under the weather. Probably pushed myself too much this week trying to pack in all the sights before I leave for Prague on Tuesday. I’m gonna be really sad. Whereas Paris was love at first sight, I fell in love with Budapest. BP earned it.

Because of this earned love affair, I cannot decide what to do. 

Stay in Budapest a few more days? Another week? Forever?

I ask Spirit to show me a clear sign. Until then ...

FRIDAY, 5/5. The Day of the Psychological Apocalypse.

Today begins like any other day.

First, I recall a dream.

I find a bright white shining book. It looks brand-new and like someone is giving it away. I realize that it was collected off of a school desk. I try to figure out if I can take it. I see the name on it says Amanda but it's not me Amanda, it's a different Amanda, and it says something about feeling good, and there's a dark-skinned woman on the cover (Nina Simone?!?). And I realize that different Amanda has been sick, maybe with cancer. Her classmates banded together to get her this book. And then the teacher tells us that we're giving a gift to April. She says it'll be 202 each. And I think, oh my God $202, I don't have that money right now. And she says no, $2.02.

I lazily arise from my bed around noon-ish, follow my morning liquid protocols, and head over to the organic grocery store to exchange a few items, and stock up for the next week.

PS. They don't do exchanges in Budapest. I called the store in advance to make sure I could exchange a few unopened items that I wasn't going to use and didn't want to waste. The guy was so confused when we spoke. I explained my intentions behind the exchange. He said, "I can't tell you if we can do this. I don't have authority to tell you if it's right. But bring it in and maybe something will happen." Mmmm'kay.

When I arrive, they are very gracious, and make the exchange for me, especially since I am spending more than I'm exchanging.

I pop into Vega City next door and pick up food for the rest of the day since I'm heading to the baths and then have coaching sessions and another ancestral clearing session in the evening, so no time for cooking.

Today's bath is Lukacs. If you visit this bath and you find yourself in front of this building, KEEP GOING. It's not the right one.

The grounds of Lukacs reminds me of Gramercy Park--very well kept, quiet, exclusive-esque. Inside, they take the medicinal, therapeutic aspect very seriously. As a result, it's the most sterile and hospital-like of all the baths. Which means it has the least number of tourists and is likely also the cleanest. I'm ok with this.

And at the entrance to the pools, I see the most beautiful sight of my whole lifetime. Two words on a sign that mine eyes hath never beheld in such glorious regard: SILENCE HEALS. 

Halle-freakin-lujah.

Despite the cleanliness and the relative quiet, I think this may be my least favorite bath. I do like that the pools are situated very close together, so you can dip in and out very easily. But there's a certain character that's missing, and it doesn't feel as cozy and historical as some of the others. So, you're welcome, locals. I'm doing you a solid with this lukewarm review.

Tourists, just go walk around the grounds and skip the inside part. It's a creepy maze in there anyways. (You're welcome again, Hungarians.)

I head home after 3 hours of bathing, and prepare myself for the 9:30 PM clearing session with Steve. I'm a mixture of exhilarated and terrified. My last experience was SO cleansing, yet there were a ton of uncomfortable and painful emotions I had to unleash to feel the relief. 

The Psychological Apocalypse Begins

Steve and I connect by Skype, and I jokingly grab a 7-inch thick roll of paper towels to catch all of my anticipated tears and snot--the poison that is screaming to be released from my body.

As the session starts, I'm feeling performance anxiety. I felt like last session was so successful, and I'm not sure if I can go there again this time. Steve reassures me that every session is different, so I relax, close my eyes, and allow the guiding to begin.

We work through, or I should say ATTEMPT to work through, a series of physical sensations and associated images and thoughts. It's not going anywhere. The tension in my jaw and throat seems to be increasing. I feel major resistance. I want to cry but nothing is coming out. The images are bullshitty ones, just scratching the surface of what I know is festering within.

Steve stops the work. I'm slightly taken aback, but I get it. We aren't really making progress.

He then tells it to me straight. He can't work with me. I'm too blocked. There's nothing he can do with the ancestral clearing until I do some major work on myself. I've made an agreement with myself not to thrive. Due to all of the early life traumas, I'm on a path of revenge--self-sabotage, hating others, judging others and myself, ruining the good in my life. "Oh, the world hurt me, well SCREW the world. I'm gonna be a mess and hate myself and destroy myself and you can go to HELL and back." Like drinking poison and waiting for your enemies to die.

I am shocked. Here I am thinking that I am doing all this HEALING. Gosh, I'm so damned EVOLVED. I'm brushing my skin every morning, drinking fresh juices and smoothies, extracting toxins from my cells all while journaling and meditating and writing affirmations and doing ancestral clearing! 

I have an out of body experience. I hear Steve telling me these truths, truths that are self-evident but extremely difficult to hear someone else say, especially someone I was attempting to impress with my spiritual freedom and openness and depth. I realize that I'm not as far along as I thought I was.

During the session, I envision a deep, dark, solid black egg in the pit of my throat. Steve reflects that it is my protection. That it's served me for all of these years. That the wounding of my childhood was too much to bear, so I had to shore up all vulnerability, and steel myself against the perceived evils of the world.

To dispel this black egg, I have to break the vengeful agreements I have made. The agreement not to thrive. Not to trust. Not to love. Not to connect. I must trust that I have as much light within myself as I do darkness. And that, in fact, the darkness is just a lack of light. I must shovel the shit of my shadow self--the she-who-must-not-be-named--to find the crystals and diamonds within.

He says the process may be messy and slow. It took me 36 years to get here, so I can't expect to change overnight. But it doesn't have to be years, or even months. I need to accept things and people as they are, namely myself. I must accept that I am good in order to see that the rest of humanity is good.

How long does it take one to accept that they are good?

He advises me not to make a plan or think about next steps. Go take a bath, make a cup of tea, and let the steps unfold as they will.

We end the call, and I am reeling.

My perception of myself and my supposed progress has been shattered. 

What am I doing here? Has this healing journey been completely for naught? Have I just been fooling myself all these weeks and months and years? Who am I REALLY, anyway? Can I ever be connected? Healthy? Non-destructive? 

I have a choice. I continue to live my life as is, protected, “safe,” moderately joyful, alone, “free,” easy. Or, I choose to be open, vulnerable, raw, true, gritty, connected, alive, powerful, seen.

I don’t know if I have the strength for the latter. Or even the desire. Maybe I like the little shitpile I’ve created for myself. Maybe that’s all I want or need.

I have my work. I love my work. Doing my work distracts from the real work. If I’m working, producing, creating then I’m moving forward, growing, surviving. But am I thriving?

I start to spin out. I cannot make sense of all of the realities that just sideswiped me. I call a friend who is familiar with shadow work to ask her advice.

The conversation starts off with me joking that I'm broken. It quickly devolves into me realizing that life is meaningless, and that we all live in an illusion. WE ARE IN THE MATRIX. And we fool ourselves into thinking that our actions and efforts are actually doing something. BUT. Nothing matters, nothing is real, we are NOTHING.

I'm right, she says. Life is meaningless. We are in an illusion. Nothing does matter. 

I'm having a mental breakdown. I consider ending it all. It's too much. It's too hard. It doesn't make sense. I don't have the strength. I cannot lie to myself anymore.

And at the same time, she continues, life is EVERYTHING. It is magic. EVERYTHING matters. We must learn to live and thrive with this duality. That is the journey. That is the mission.

I feel utterly and completely alone.

Well, you are, she confirms. You are alone. You are utterly, helplessly, and completely alone in this world. But SO IS EVERYONE ELSE. 

We are all here being alone. And the reality of this is heartbreaking. And all of us are running around all day every day trying to pretend this isn't the case. We numb ourselves, addict ourselves, punish ourselves to blot out the truth. We cannot deal with the reality that the WORLD MAKES NO SENSE. How did we get here? Through God?! How did God get there?! It's pure insanity. There are no answers. Only emptiness. It doesn't matter anyway. The only experience that is real is the one we choose to create. And we can spend our time on Earth self-destructing and avoiding, or we can be honest and help each other do a better job of being alone. We can figure out how to be alone, together. Magically.

Once you accept all this as truth, it is truly freeing. You allow love and compassion and true connection, because we are all going through the same shit-storm to find the beauty. The life. The rainbow. The unicorn. 

By the end of our almost 90-minute convo, I'm feeling the blood in my limbs again. I can feel my feet on the floor. I sense that my understanding of the world has entirely cracked open, and I can never go back to the way it was before. Denial is no longer an option. 

I wanted to call it quits. But I rethink. I've been given this gift of life, however meaningless, so why not fully accept the gift. And all of my own gifts as well. As the universe gave to me, I shall give to others. Gift after gift after gift. That is my new purpose.

My dear friend, who has patiently and compassionately listened to my sob-filled existential crisis--suggests I unplug from the Matrix for the weekend. Take care of any outstanding business, give loved ones a heads up, and shut down all WiFi devices. Allow myself to have a playful weekend alone guided entirely by Spirit. This sounds like an assignment I can follow. I'm good with instructions. And I'm grasping for some kind of positive action I can take. 

I start frantically texting people and responding to emails, trying to wrap up various loose ends. I notice how fearful I am of dropping the ball, of not fulfilling expectations, of the enormous weight of responsibility that I balance on my shoulders. Anxiety consumes me. Eventually, I recognize I need to get some rest, so I decide to tie the rest up in the morning. But my sleep is not entirely restful. I feel out of my element.

It feels like I'm going into the jungle. It's the Amazonian rainforest of my subconscious. 

It's Saturday morning. Post-Psychological Apocalypse.

I had purchased tickets to see a concert at the Liszt Museum at 11 AM, and I didn't go to bed until 3:15 AM. My friend encouraged me not to restrict myself by plans I previously made, and to truly allow my Higher Self to plan my day with me. 

So I told Spirit before I went to bed that if I was meant to see the concert, that I should wake up naturally at 9:45 am.

Welp, I did. 

I now have an hour to get there, and I need to make sure a few tasks are finished. Plus, I hear Spirit whispering in my ear that I should put on a flirty dress, do some sultry makeup, and indulge in my femininity. Consequently, I end up leaving the house later than I had wanted to, so I'm rushing to make it there on time.

Fortunately, I catch the tram just as it's arriving, and it drops me off right in front of the Museum. I enter the concert hall just as the musicians are entering the stage.

The music moves me to tears. The musicians are in their zone of genius, and I marvel at what a gift it is to be human, and to witness such magic.

A father has his young son with him. He can't be more than 2 years old. And he is mesmerized by the performance. For over an hour, he makes not a sound, just sits and watches in awe, until the very end when he grows sleepy. I choose to be like him today, and see the world through his eyes.

Since I'm already there, I decide to visit the museum. I'm surprisingly emotional when I walk in. For some reason, it reminds me of my grandparents' old home--the one they lived in before their retirement community home. 

I usually rush through museums. I find them boring, and I'm eager to go DO.

This time, I savor every moment. I stand with each work, instrument, letter, photo, and I allow it to affect me. I feel at ease. I feel connected. I'm starting to understand this whole Spirit-be-my-guide thing.

I find a natural conclusion to my museum visit, and then realize that I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT now. I have 48 hours ahead of me of yet-to-be-discovered activities.

I begin to walk. I think about how I have no idea where I'm going. And that it might be nice to have a map just so I don't get lost in the ghetto.

A few minutes later, I stumble upon a vegan restaurant called Kozmosz that was on my list of places to check out. Well, fancy that, Spirit. Nice one.

As I'm waiting for the hostess to seat me, I see they have a stack of MAPS on the table by the door. Thank you very much.

I enjoy a lovely beetroot burger with rice, pickles and ginger tea. And then I set out into the big bright unknown Spring day with map in tow.

Given that I am running on little sleep and an evening full of sobbing, I have a tension headache. Now, I've been having a running dialogue with my Spirit all morning, and we've been getting along famously. So, I asked her if she would take my headache away. She said, of course, but you must allow it to be taken. I comply. No less than 2 minutes later, GONE. I kid you not.

The day begins to unfold in the most exhilarating way, and I become a player in the fanciest day ever created.

First, classical music in a gorgeous concert hall.

Next, after lunch, I find my way to Boscolo, a hotel that looks like a palace. It's around 3 PM at this point, and just before I arrive, I note to Spirit that I am in need of a nap. Spirit delivers to me the most comfortable couch-bed-chair in the lobby of the hotel, and I nap for 45 minutes undisturbed. And I wake up rested, happy, satisfied, and CHIPPER. Spirit, what have you done with Reprimanda?!

Post nap, I stroll over to the cafe section--called New York Cafe--and I sit in a balcony seat overlooking the most marvelous atrium, with a live orchestra playing, followed by a pianist performing renditions of Fiddler on the Roof and Start Spreading the News. I glance through the menu--New York-style Cheesecake along with New York-style prices--and I order a glass of sparkling champagne while enjoying the music.

Eventually, Spirit tells me it's time to venture out again.

We set out for a walk, and I'm feeling nurtured, cared for, protected, and guided in a way I've never experienced before.

Spirit and I continue our dialogue, and she's playful and sprightly, a bit of a jokester but benevolent. She dares me to start skipping down the street, and I do, but self-consciously. She tells me that no one is watching me. Everyone is too concerned with their own self-image. And if they did see me and laughed or scoffed, it is their own path of revenge.

Even though my logic brain has registered this sentiment before, it hits me in a new way. I begin to see everyone in a new light, with love and compassion. Something my friend said to me last night reverberates--everyone is doing their damned best. It might not seem like much, but it's the best they can do given the resources the were or were not gifted. And no matter what, everything is perfect.

They are just like me.

We are all grappling with this blistering insanity and vacuous unknown. I want to hug everyone I see and tell them, "I'm with you."

I start smiling at people. The screaming children I encounter along my path, who would normally affect me like nails on a chalkboard, no longer upset me. I feel empathy for them, and empathy for the parents who are doing their best to make their children happy. I want to give to them. I want them to help make their lives better. I want to give so they can do better at being alone.

I pass by the famous Synagogue. I eat the MOST delicious and eye-pleasing apricot jam and walnut ice cream sundae at the famous Cafe Gerbeaud.

I stop at home to freshen up cause Spirit is taking me out on the town.

On the way to I-have-no-idea-where, I encounter numerous VERY large groups of guys. I am always flabbergasted when I see giant groups of guys. I've honestly never experienced a large gal group--at least never more than 8-10. There are HUGE GROUPS of like 20 dudes sprawling all over the city, and they organized themselves to get blitzed and get chicks. I smile. They are taking the Matrix to the max, and living it up.

Spirit guides me over to Gozsdu Udvar, and I'm giddy cause I've visited during the day but have been wanting to explore it at night.

I take a seat at Vicky Barcelona, and am tended to by a sweet bartender who helps me choose my items, and offers to pay for them (and eat them) if I don't like them. It's all delicious.

Once dinner is consumed, I move over to a separate bar area, called Jardin, and sit at the bar. The bartender hands me drink menus, and I sit there for a few minutes before he asks me if I'm alone. Yes, I reply. He then informs me that the bar is reserved for a big party, which apparently started at 8 PM, so I'd have to go sit outside. I don't believe him. It is 10:30 PM. I look around, and none of these people look like they are together. And why after 5 minutes of me sitting there, do you break this news? Honestly, I think he thought I was an American hooker and didn't want the likes of me in his establishment. Well, that's just fine, sir. I didn't want your pretentious $10 cocktail anyways. (And by the way, I'm a VERY classy-type hooker.) 

I feel rejected. I'm not smiling this time. I want to cry.

I move on to Szimpla Kert. My first night there was such a blast, I think, I'll show YOU, bartender. I'm gonna have the time of my life. Thank you for rejecting me, ya jerk.

There's a long line. I reach the front, they inspect my bag, and insist that I throw out my water bottle. No water allowed. Well, scary sir, I don't want to discard my water bottle cause it's the perfect size for my bag, and I like it.

I take both of these "rejections" as gentle nudges from Spirit that it's time to go home.

BUT, I make one last stroll back over to Gozsdu Udvar to see if anything is happening. As I'm walking up and down the corridor, people spilling out from all of the side-by-side bars and restaurants, I hear the Spirit voice clearly say,

Go home. You are in danger.

What is spirit protecting me from, I wonder? I'll likely never know. I heed her warning.

On my walk home, I see a very drunk frat guy make his way over to a disabled homeless woman. I think, oh man, what horrible crap is going to come out of his mouth. Well, he bends down and greets her like she is an actual person, and gives her some words of encouragement. People are not evil, they are doing their best.

I walk through my door a little after midnight, slightly disappointed by the evening's turn of events. Although I'm mourning the dream of an unforgettable night out, I trust that Spirit did not lead me astray.

I sleep 12 hours. It is a gift from the heavens, no doubt.

Spirit keeps me at home most of the day. I leisurely prepare my liquids, do a bit of satisfying work, and prepare myself for the event I've been looking forward to for weeks: Elektra at the Hungarian Opera House.

It is everything I hoped for and more. Badass females dominating all over the place, genius staging, powerful acting, unparalleled singing, dynamic set design with a descending bed from the ceiling and a wall on hinges that rises and falls on a 45 degree angle--and it's set in a thermal bath! AND all done in 1 act! My kind of opera.

By 9 PM, I'm on my way to dinner, and snap the moon shot above.

I end up at M. Restaurant at a perfect little table on the 2nd floor nestled in the corner by an open window, overlooking the street. It was hot in the Opera House so this cool air is balm to my soul. 

The wallpaper is so clever! The decor is drawn in pencil!

Tonight is THE night. Spirit is really taking me out on the town this time.

I pay the bill at the restaurant, and head over to check out a new club called Fogas. There are supposedly a ridiculous number of dance floors and bar areas, and I want to DANCE.

I walk inside, and it's practically empty. But this is happening. So I sit in a corner, and I patiently wait. I know something is coming, I can feel it.

And then, there she is. After about 20 minutes of awkward aloneness, a girl sits next to me, who also seems to be awkwardly alone. We exchange a few awkward questions and answers about where the bathroom is, and then we finally decide to be friends.

She is a kinky-haired blonde Russian named Dasha. She proceeds to drink lots of vodka. Then, she pulls me out to the dance floor. And there are pictures of Putin and Trump on the walls surrounding us. (This is a real story! I wish I had a picture of her to prove it.)

I feel a pull to go to back to Szimpla Kert. I don't know exactly why, but I know we have to leave. She doesn't seem into it, but she eventually complies when I tell her when can come back if the other places sucks. 

She's VERY annoyed when we arrive and there is a long line. She hates lines. I think, yes, but what if it's Spirit delaying us to protect us?! I don't share this. I just smile and make light of the situation.

Finally we make it in, and less than 10 minutes of being there, I am approached by an adorable Argentinian lad. And I understand, this was the pull. This is why I was called here. I had hoped for a romance while abroad, if only to feel a connection with someone, an aliveness. Earlier in my trip, I thought a romance might bud with a guy I met--at Szimpla Kert, no less!--but his energy turned out to be too much like my old negative patterning, and it didn't go anywhere. This guy feels light, straightforward, sweet, good-natured. I like him instantly, even though we only understand about half of what the other one is saying, as his English is rusty and my Spanish is non-existent. We have a blast. It is exactly what I needed and asked for earlier in the weekend. And Spirit certainly delivered.

All in all, I'm noticing that I'm pretty on point with Spirit. I had mapped out a schedule for the weekend, and it turned out all the places on my agenda were precisely where I was led. So, I'm clearly in touch with what my Higher Self wants. My lesson is learning to trust the unfolding without added anxiety and time pressure. In honor of this flow, I am choosing to stay in Budapest 2 more days, and leave for Prague on Thursday. I cannot pinpoint exactly why yet, but it feels right. So I'm going with it.

It felt incredibly freeing to sign off for the weekend. But the weight of anxiety still bore down on me on Sunday night. Anticipating all the tasks to complete, emails to review, people to take care of once I had to log back in on Monday morning. 

The good news is I'm more comfortable with the reality of the world. Living in the Matrix. Co-existing alone with humans. Accepting myself and others as they are. Making the most of this beautiful insanity. 

Healing Journey - Days 39 + 40

This blogging every day thing is friggin exhausting. Think I'm officially moving it to every other day. I mean, as much as I'd like to think this is happening, no one has bought front row seats to my website, waiting with bated breath for the newly published post, and then cursing and throwing tomatoes at their Lenovo Yoga 700 when nothing shows up at the regularly scheduled posting time. (But, wait. ARE you?!)

Fluggernuggets.

I went to bed at 5:30 AM on Monday night/Tuesday morning. And not cause I was doing anything 5:30 AM-worthy. Cause I was amped up from blog-writing and then wanted to get more shizz done. Hence why the every-other-day schedule has commenced.

I think this 30 days of yoga thing might actually happen. I mean who doesn't have 30 minutes to do some stretching and breathing--we're already doing half of those things without trying anyways. I can give up my dedicated time on Facebook looking at puppy videos and instead raise my vibes with some sweet yoga moves. And plus, Adriene is freaking cool. I reaaaaaaaaally wanna hang out with her. She's all, "we're not here to do yoga." Music to my ears. 

It's now my 2nd day of the yoga, and I feel fan-flipping-tastic. Proud and limber. I'm ready to bathe. 

It is THE most beautiful, warm Spring day today, and I decide to skip on over to a new bath called Rudas.

I see this one the way. Can you say #GOT?!

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you ...

THE HOLY GRAIL OF BATHS.

Why. Why. WHYYYYYYY did I not discover this sooner?!?! (Divine timing, divine timing, divine timing ... ahhhhhhh shut up, Universe!)

It is classy, clean, and QUIET.

I get my OWN CHANGING CABIN FOR FREE.

THERE ARE NO MEN THERE!!!!!!!!!!! NO MEN ON TUESDAYS!!!!!!!!!!

The goddesses roam free, and I seriously feel like I'm reenacting a scene from Roman times.

I can't believe I picked the perfect day to check this place out. However, although no men are allowed on Tuesdays, no women are allowed on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays ORRRR Fridays. WTF. We need to work on the equal rights, Hungary.

As much as I should have expected it, I am shocked when confronted with my first bare-boobed group. Like, I almost have the instinct to throw my towel to one of them. But then I remember, NO MEN. Why don't more places in the world offer this? (I LOVE YOU, MEN. But not having you here is AMAZING.)

We aren't supposed to take photos inside the baths--since nudity abounds, of course--though a few young female tourists break the rules unwittingly. But just imagine a Roman goddess paradise, and that's what it looked like inside.

Funnily enough, for the past 3 weeks of being at Gellert, I thought I was drinking curative water from the drinking fountain, but I, in fact, was NOT. How do I know this? Because the drinking water here smells and tastes like rotten eggs. It's the stuff I should have been drinking. Oops. (Universe, you were looking out for me, weren't ya?)

I get hungry in the middle of my bathing experience, and Planner-manda smartly packed a little to-go snack. LEAVES. I ate them in the private cabin, sprinkled with herbamare, nutritional yeast and olive oil.

Upon conclusion of my blissfully leisure-filled goddess bathing, I make the trek up to the Citadella to see the sunset. It's supposed to have the most breaktaking views of anywhere in the city. 

Of course, I don't factor in that I would be carrying THE heaviest bag on the planet, weighted down with sopping wet towels and clothes. So what should've taken me 15 minutes to walk up, took me about 30 minutes, and I seriously thought about crawling at one point.

BUT, I make it. And it is worth all the sulphur-infused blood, sweat, and tears I shed on the way up.

Budapest is crazy romantic. It's almost a sin to spend a month here single.

So, of course, I take myself out for a romantic dinner at Borsso Bistro, and I loved it. Everything is perfect. More chef's surprises--both in the beginning AND at the end, excellent food, tastiest chocolate mousse, and a lovely white wine. While this is not cleansing material, I'm doing my best to strike a balance between staying true to my mission and exploring this amazing city. So far, I feel good about it. If I were to do it again, I'd probably pick a thermal bath in a boring location so the only activities that I can engage in are reading, writing, walking, cooking and sleeping. That way, it would be far easier not to get distracted by shiny things.

I crash early Tuesday night--1:30 AM--and wake up at 10:30 AM today! 

Today is another new bath. Kiraly.

IMG_7617.JPG

Kiraly is the authentic live-like-a-local experience. It's more off the beaten path than the other baths, and it is also the least expensive of them.

More than half of the patrons are elders, and I get the sense I'm spoiling their sacred weekday ritual; they all know each other and spend hours chatting it up in the various pools.

I think this one might be my favorite. I feel like I am in a secret underground bath dungeon; there are peeling stone walls, it's dark and dingy, there's barely anyone there so I luxuriate in pools all by myself, and--dear Goddess--it's QUIET. 

UNTIL ... a trio of young American girls shows up cackling and cawing about a bunch of dumb shit that matters to no one. RESPECT YOUR ELDERS, LADIES.

That's my cue to exit.

And, boy, am I glad I leave when I do. I manage to capture this insane pic right before the rains fall.

I have a couple coaching calls scheduled, and I think about seeing a Hungarian folk dancing show tonight. But, then the thunderstorms begin, and I take that as another cue to stay home and hibernate. I'm taking a very special excursion tomorrow, so I need my beauty rest ...

Healing Journey - Days 36-38

This is what I'm talking about with the sheets. (DEMONS.)

I had every intention of posting this weekend but my body shut down by 11 pm on Saturday and Sunday night. Thermal bathing is very exhausting. (I saaaaaaaid, don't laugh.)

SATURDAY, 4/29

Bathing and lunching and then sleeping. That's about it.

I wake up on Saturday morning from a dream about going on 2 dates at the same time, but the guys didn't know they were sharing a date with me. I kept running back and forth between rooms, making up excuses as to why I was gone for so long. It was like a zany rom-com!!! 

Today is the day.

I am trying a new bath. 

It's the "popular" bath where all the British frat-boy tourists go to mack on chicks. They have Saturday night bath parties, and everyone gets cray. I have no desire for the cray, so I go during the day. There are still a million frat boys because there is a beer bath there. Anything for the ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-alcohol.

I take the tram, which gets me there in 30 minutes. The line is relatively short, considering the last time I tried to come, the line was 200 people long.

The smell of sulfur is RANK. I did not smell this smell in the other bath. I mean, I did. But not THIS smell.

After changing, I wander through the different areas, scoping out where I want to soak. Compared to Gellert, Szechenyi has a ton more options--21 pools! I'm overwhelmed. 

First I spend some time in the outdoor pool, cause it's seriously beautiful. But this delicate flower cannot spend more than 15 minutes in the sun, even with a good bit of cloud cover, so I extricate myself from the situation pretty fast.

Back inside, I spot an area where there aren't too many bodies--as most of the pools have people lined around the edges, shoulder to shoulder--and I sink myself in. There are a lot of people in here. A lot of dirty, dirty people. When I think about how many body's grime I'm soaking in, I want to throw up and die. But I push the thoughts from my mind. "We are all one. We are all one. Your grime is my grime. Your grime is ... FLOATING IN THE FUCKING WATER. EW."

I'm out.

I'll stick with what I know.

Time for lunch!

And it's FANCY.

I reserved a table at Gundel, and show up a few minutes late, which the hostess pretends she's fine with. (She doesn't understand the whole Mandyland time thing. And she also might hate her job--annoying, late tourists all day long.)

I order the 3-course luncheon menu, which would easily go for $100 or more in NYC. 

TWENTY SEVEN DOLLARS.

Including a delicious glass of white wine.

A freshly-cut rose at each table.

And classy fancy-pants-place music: they are playing jazzy instrumental Kenny-G-style "Sexual Healing," and I feel more at ease here than anywhere in my life so far.

AND, a "Chef's surprise" aka amuse-bouche of red pepper gelee and chicken pate.

Plus, there's a maitre d', and he communicates with his staff by giving hand signs like he's orchestrating the MOST monumental pitch in baseball. He is NOT playin around. The service is impeccable. The waitstaff predicts all my needs and delivers the food in symphonic rhythm.

To be perfectly honest, though, the food was like mediocre wedding food, and I ate everything else just to get to the salty caramel mousse. (That's in fact the only reason I booked this restaurant after looking at their menu online.)

It was PURE BLISS.

I am falling asleep at the restaurant table. This is frowned upon in fancy establishments, so I drag my tired butt out of the cushiest chair in existence, and I trudge back to the tram.

By 6 PM, my eyelids are lead curtains, smashing down on my cheekbones, so I pass out, assuming I'll wake up in the morning.

I DON'T.

I'm up at 10:30 PM, and I stupidly check my text messages and emails, and then I'm UP. 

I read a little of You are a Badass, which is incredibly funny (I want to be Jen Sincero's new bestie), and I try to fall back asleep around 1:30 AM. 

But shit gets creepy.

I start hearing voices and seeing evil images in my mind's eye, like beasts and monsters. Normally, nothing fazes me. I lived in Washington Heights (in NYC) alone for 7 years and never batted an eyelash. I can watch a series of the most terrifying horror movies until 2 AM, and not think about it again for a second.

I am freaking the FUCK out on Saturday night.

Stealthily, I creep out of the bedroom and check and recheck all the locks. I consider stowing a knife under my pillow, but I decide against it given how clumsy I am and how I'd probably just accidentally slice my face. It takes me a good 2 hours before I calm down. I remember that I have a million essential oils to chill me out, so I dowse myself, and eventually my exhaustion takes over.

SUNDAY, 4/30

Ironically enough, I wake up to remembering the least scary dreams I've had the pleasure of remembering.

I'm in a musical production. At the break, I'm hungry, and I want to grab food. I'm pressed for time but I think, fuck it. I can make it there and back. (Mandyland time.) It's an Italian restaurant, and I see pizza in the window. I order it, even though I shouldn't (gluten). I stuff my face as I walk backstage, and I hear silence and then yelling. I missed my cue. The stage manager finds me and says the tour is canceled. "Because of me?" I ask. "That, and other stuff." She retorts. I feel awful. So irresponsible and selfish of me that I was hungry and left everyone in the lurch. Then I think, well, there was no one back here calling time. I didn't know that I didn't have enough time. (And I did not know if that was true or not because I wasn't there to hear whether someone was calling time.) Then I go to see a dance opera that my friends are in and I can't find a damn seat with a good view. Barbara and Jen are in Britney Spears-inspired glittery latex and magenta peacock outfits busting out some outrageously sexy dance moves. This is so Barbara. She must have choreographed it. Aaaaaaand, SCENE.

I'm up relatively early on Sunday, and my plan is to hit up a couple outdoor markets (Gozsdu Udvar and Szimpla Kert), bathe at my regular grime-free sanctuary (Gellert), and then engage in some extracurricular activities (360 Bar and then dancing at one or many spots ...).

I'm goin' OOOOOOOUUUUUUUUT, toniiiiiiiiihgt! (Labor day in Hungaria tomorrow.)

I am home by 11:30 pm. Oh, well. It's the thought that counts.

I did get these amazing pics while at 360 Bar, AND I get hit on by some French and Bratislavian dudes. Ego is stroked at least.

LOOK AT THESE PHOTOS!!!! Goddess was all, ok, I'll give you a show tonight, sweetheart.

Front row fuggin seat to the majesty that is nature. 

Even though I'm sleepy by 9 PM, I think, MANDY, get it TOGETHER. You need a night out. You've spoken to no in-person humans in a week, other than the cashiers at the baths. You NEED human interaction. Skype does not count. Imagining your burgeoning best friendship with Jen Sincero DOES NOT COUNT.

Ok, I think. I can DO this. I will drink Grand Tokaj and mingle with foreigners. It will be GRAND. 

But first. Food.

I get some CRAMAZINGLY delicious falafel that will ruin me for all the falafel to come.

It also ruins me for any hope of going out on the town.

MONDAY, 5/1

The first day of May. WHAT.

I am in love with the Yoga with Adriene chick. New girl crush, for reals. (Sorry, Sincero. I've moved on.) I commit to her 30 days of Yoga Challenge, and love day one. And I finally have a reason to use these handy traction gloves and feetsies!

Afterwards, I apply my 5 oils for ancestral-clearing and boundary-setting support, and I'm becoming more and more obsessed with this one. You gotta try it. SO FLIPPIN GOOD.

Most of my day is spent working on my webinar and newsletter, and I don't have time for bathing. 

SOOOO, tomorrow, I have no work on the schedule, only play. I shall commit to this mantra through and through.

Healing Journey - Day 35

Emotionally vivid dreams continue. 

Today, I wake up sobbing that school is over for me forever, except it's been over for ten years, and for a good 10 minutes after I awake, I have trouble remembering if I am 26 or 36.

On point with the liquid/spiritual morning ritual: I hydrate, journal, create a few mantras, and say my abundance prayer. Time to do the yoga! 

I work.

I organize my desk, declutter some paperwork, update and refine my to-do list. 

I finish up my liquids, and start THE MOTHER of all cleansing supplements: GX Assist. This stuff is designed to clean out your guts like whoa, and I'm ready for it.

I think about doing the 30-minute yoga class I found on YouTube last night. Ugh, that feels unmanageably long right now cause I MUST go to the baths today after a 2-day hiatus. 

Then I find a 15-minute video. Still feels too long. 

Do they MAKE 10-minute yoga videos?!

They sure do.

I must do it. I must do SOME physical activity.

I land on one that feels appropriate, as it's yoga for self-care. The teacher is a woman named Adriene, and I like her vibe right away. She's a little sassy and practices with humor. Who knew yoga teachers were allowed to be funny when they teach!! I always thought it was supposed to be super serious. But this was fun. And only 10 minutes. And I DID it. And I found a 30-minute video of hers to do tomorrow. Baby steps.

And baby plants!!! This little guy on the table at tonight's dinner spot made me so nostalgic for my baby plants at home. 

I have an epiphany that one of the reasons I avoid exercise is I'm afraid to lose weight--even though that's what I (think I) want to do. When I feel skinny, I feel empty. Like there's not enough of me to exist in the world. At least when I have more weight on me, I feel like I take up space. Plus, being skinny makes me feel vulnerable. I might be more desired--cause this is the belief system that American media and marketing has ingrained into my brain--and I don't feel comfortable with the idea of attention. Having more weight creates an invisibility cloak. 

I link this to the epiphanies that came up during the ancestral clearing session. At one point, I see myself in a past life. I am a small girl of maybe 7 or 8, sitting on a pile of sticks and dried leaves, holding out a white pot. My bones are like sticks, and my hair ratty, my skin sallow, my white dress stained and dirty. I am a prisoner in a concentration camp, and I am starving. All I can think to myself is, "I am all alone. God hates me."

In this life, I've had a food addiction since I can remember. For awhile, it was displaced as an alcohol addiction, and I starved myself during that time period, eating only soft pretzels and malt balls to keep my energy going. Once the starvation became too extreme, I'd flip the switch to binge eating 2 pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and a loaf of bread to punish myself and stuff down all the feelings I couldn't name and didn't want to name. Over the years, I've learned to manage the addiction, and the swings have been far milder. Through all the emotional and spiritual work I'm engaging in, I've been releasing great loads of the shame and guilt I've been chaining myself to--just for being alive. Rather than months of binging, I might do it for a few days, and it's usually on relatively "healthy" foods like Veggie Stix or Coconut Dream ice cream. So far in Budapest, I haven't felt the urge. However, I have the fear that the urge will return once I'm back in my normal LA habitat. 

When the witch doctor diagnosed me as living inside of an energetic shell, it felt like a sharp truth. What I'm starting to understand is that the shell is not only physical, it's emotional. Layers and layers of past life and current life trauma have stifled the light. All the juice cleansing and thermal bathing cannot fix this. Plus, there's nothing to "fix." I need to peel and feel--peel back each layer of trauma and feel each and every associated emotion so that I can release the poisonous grip they hold on me. Yes, physical cleansing will help to support this process, but it's not the answer. I must journey much, much deeper, to places that I've pretended aren't there.

In the end, my goal is to feel whole. Balanced. At ease. Loved. Open. Comfortable in my skin. Kind to myself. Kind to others. Connected. Light. 

I need to see and accept the truth of who I am, and know that no matter what, I'm going to be ok.

Romance is in order tonight, so I take myself out to see jazz. I sit in a dark corner, sip on a chilled glass of Rose, and enjoy a dose of music therapy.

Healing Journey - Day 34

For the past few nights, I've been having some seriously vivid and symbolic dreams. It's like the combination of New Moon power coupled with menstruating lady power is creating an imagination superpower.

In this morning's dream, I found myself stuck in the midst of a Warlock colony, and one of the Warlocks was a scary terrorist of a creature. Ironically, he was hiding from someone very powerful, and someone (me) in the castle where he dwelled called that very powerful someone and tipped off where the Warlock was hiding. I felt guilty but I knew it was time for the Warlock to be discovered. A few hours later, the doorbell rang, and an unsuspecting servant answered the door. The very powerful someone revealed herself from behind a Game-of-Thrones type of "A-Girl-Has-No-Name" mask, and an amulet around her neck pierced the darkness with a glowing white light. She touched the light and the servant went down for the count. The Warlock came to the door to see what the commotion was about and saw who it was--an even-more-powerful-than-him Warlock princess with a black marking on her forehead and a coiled gold-plated snake as a crown. He was shocked and scared and pleaded for her to spare him; he knew the hiding was over, and he'd have to reveal his true self. As much as she felt for him, she had to do her duty. She was going to remove his anger and protective facade, and he'd be utterly and completely vulnerable. Then I woke up.

Pretty sure my experience at the Diosgyor Castle last week was the inspiration. 

Given all of the ancestral clearing and emotional release I've been engaged in over the past few weeks, this dream is ripe with symbolism. It would seem to me that the someone who tipped off the very powerful Princess symbolizes the scared, intimidated part of myself that knows it's time to be freed of repressed shame, guilt, anger, and fear, and take down the protective shell. My more powerful Princess self is ready to step up to the challenge. No Warlock is keeping this girl oppressed.

After that dream, it seemed appropriate to start my new morning oil ritual, which is meant to help me clear negative energy, set strong boundaries, and speak my truth.

_____________________

 Lavender, the Oil of Communication: applied over the throat chakra.

 Melaleuca, the Oil of Energetic Boundaries: applied from inside the elbow crease to the wrist.

 Petitgrain, the Oil of Ancestry: applied over the solar plexus.

White Fir, the Oil of Generational Healing: 2-3 drops in a cool-mist diffuser, or 1 drop in palm, rubbed together with Lemongrass, and inhaled.

Lemongrass, the Oil of Cleansing: 1 drop in a cool-mist diffuser, or 1 drop in palm, rubbed together with White Fir, and inhaled.

_____________________

*I always dilute with fractionated coconut oil. Better safe than sorry. I also do not go into direct sunlight for at least 12 hours after applying Petitgrain or Lemongrass as they can make your skin photosensitive. While these 2 oils are not necessarily deemed phototoxic by many experts, there is still a possibility of sensitivity, so I err on the side of caution.

I've been particularly drawn to the Petitgrain--in fact, it feels like human catnip to me. Guess what the emotional qualities of this oil are?!?!?!

Almost fell off my chair when I read this. Completely and utterly aligned with supporting the ancestral clearing sessions, and my body intuitively craved it! HUMANS ARE A GLORIOUS MAGICAL MYSTERY.

I'm DRAGGING today.

Both drained from the Flo and amped up from visions of Warlocks and Princesses, my body doesn't know what it wants. I went to bed at 3:15 am and woke up at 8:15 am, and took a mini 10-minute catnap at some point--just long enough to energize myself out of bed and start my morning liquid routine. I promised myself I'd go to yoga yesterday, but I was not feeling strong enough. So, today's scheduled class was happening, come hell or high water.

Did you know that thoroughly researching the Museum of Ice Cream and then waiting in an online queue for an hour to buy tickets is a legit reason why one cannot attend the yoga class that's been on their schedule for the last five days?

http://www.amny.com/eat-and-drink/museum-of-ice-cream-in-nyc-is-like-a-willy-wonka-inspired-dream-world-1.12104789

http://www.amny.com/eat-and-drink/museum-of-ice-cream-in-nyc-is-like-a-willy-wonka-inspired-dream-world-1.12104789

I want to do the yoga. I need the yoga. But I don't want to go to the yoga. Suddenly, a genius idea hits straight from above. The internets!

I can download a free class and do it here, and save myself about 45 minutes of travel time to and from the location, and I don't have to get soaking wet in the chilly Spring rain since all of my umbrellas broke. And, I also don't have to get dressed. Who doesn't love some naked yoga?

Quickly search Google for a 30-minute class, and I find one that looks perfect. I am psyched!

Then I get really distracted with work, and by the time I'm ready to do the session, I'm too hungry. 

I'm giving myself a pass because I have been extra low energy due to my cycle, and it was seriously friggin nice not to leave the house today or do anything stressful, and instead lounge around like baller diva in my most-favorite satin kimono. And it is 9:44 pm my time when I'm typing these words, so it means I really and truly have no excuse not to go to bed before midnight. Wish me luck. (Pray hard for me.)

Staring at this image before bed to call in more Princess-like dreams rather than Warlock ones.

Healing Journey - Day 33

Aunt Flo stopped in for a visit, so no baths for a few days. I mean, I could technically still go, but I'm using it as an excuse to hibernate. Plus, weather is shitty and rainy til Saturday ... Divine timing, Auntie. PROPS. 

Major win: I've been able to manage my cramps NATURALLY for the last 3 months. This has always been a struggle since I hit puberty AT AGE 10. But I've started getting reaaaaally in tune with my body. I downloaded a free app called Kindara, which helps you track your cycle and predict exactly when it will arrive based on previous monthly patterns. With this tracking capability, I am more aware of when Flo is on the way. Now, 2-3 days before the scheduled arrival, I am much gentler with myself, amp up the water and cleansing protocol, and rest. Also, I preemptively take 4 of these lifesavers the minute I feel the slightest discomfort in the uteral area (claiming that as a new phrase). And it's been working like a charm. I'm now in a place where I can love and honor my womanhood instead of wanting to curse my ovaries and rip them out of my body with my bare hands every month.

For most of the day, I luxuriate in my satin kimono given to me by a friend at clothing swap, and watch inspiring videos--like this one--about manifestation principles.

Also, how lovely is this?!?!

I bought this Tiger Eye pendulum a few months ago from a store called Amandastone (say my name, say my name), so it seemed like a call from destiny. I'm in the process of a deep soul cleanse here, and I'm manifesting love and a major business goal into my life. This choice of pendulum couldn't have been more perfect for this journey. Look at everything it's good for!

  • Protection
  • Creativity
  • Harmony
  • Balance
  • Clear thinking
  • Inspired action
  • Personal empowerment
  • Integrity
  • Willpower
  • Groundedness
  • Power
  • Courage
  • Focus

While luxuriating, I consume a series of like 5 liquids before I eat any solids. Pictured below is liquid #5. Easiest smoothie recipe ever, and I take my morning supplements with it--always take multis with fats.

_____________________

Creamy Coconut Dream Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut milk (the real milk, not that coconut beverage crap)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp raw, organic honey
  • 1 TB raw cacao
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Essential oil of your choice - my fave is Peppermint (2-3 drops) or Cinnamon (1-2 drops); they both help with digestion 

_____________________

Supplements (all doTERRA except the B-vit since its methylated).

  •  Microplex VMz: food-sourced multi-vitamin that has an ideal ratio of bioavailable nutrients to complement the Standard American diet (most supps overdose you with micronutrients, and often synthetic versions, which can be toxic to the liver).
  •  Alpha CRS+: natural antioxidant botanicals, like turmeric and milk thistle, that support healthy cell function and cellular energy.
  •  xEO Mega: Mercury-free fish oil (vegan version available) with 9 of the most powerful essential oils to help get that good hair, skin, bones, teeth, and brain.
  •  Zendocrine herbal detoxification complex and softgel: these must be taken together to help the body get rid of the nasties, like toxins and free radicals. THIS CHANGED THE GAME FOR MY SKIN.
  •  Methylated Vit B: I got that motherf*cker gene, dammit. So I methylate my B.

After my 5 liquids and a power bar, I decide a walk would be good to mobilize my lymph and circulation. I remember there is a cherry blossom festival in town, so I head over to the botanical gardens. I should rephrase--there WAS a cherry blossom festival. I forget that there is an immensely small window of time to see these beauties in full bloom, and the height of the festival was 2 weeks ago. Plus, the garden is closed. It is 7:45 pm, after all. Mandyland time, remember?

I did see some pretty white-flowered trees, though!

There's a vegan spot I've been wanting to try, and I have about 50 minutes to get there before it closes, with a 30-minute walk ahead. I can totally do this. MANDYLAND TIME. 

On the way, I hear some samba-type music with someone singing, "Taco leafs!" repeatedly and with great fervor.

I arrive at the spot, and no one is inside. The cashier seems to be cleaning up, and while technically there's 20 minutes of ordering time left before they close, I am merciful and decide to go tomorrow instead. I've got plenty of veggies at home to whip up a simple and delish meal.

Home by 9, and crack down on my to-do list so I can spend more time tomorrow relaxing--a phenomenon that is taking a great deal of practice and focus to achieve. I plan to master the art of chilling the eff out (eventually).

 

Healing Journey - Day 32

Guys, I still have more than half of my journey left!!! And can I admit something? Pretty sure I'm addicted to travel. I'm already planning a Slovenia/Croatia trip for October even though I said I was gonna put down roots in LA and not travel for awhile. Sorry, not sorry!!!

I sleep a glorious 9 hours last night and wake up refreshed at 11:30 am.

Back to the morning ritual:

Hot water with lemon

Detox tea

Juicy Juice (beets, celery, apples, cucumber, carrots, ginger, lemon)

Coconut milk, banana and cacao smoothie with supplements.

IMG_6946.JPG

While all of the liquids are happening, I focus on different personal development activities. Today, it's all about the Get Rich, Lucky Bitch Manifesting Formula. If you sighed at that sentence, I feel you. I used to think "manifestation" was a marketing ploy to make naive, desperate people think they could make money appear if they just bought this person's super special $5,000 program to find out how to make money appear!

But, honestly, I've come to believe with all of my heart and soul that manifestation is our human superpower. Everyone has the ability to tap into it, and create any reality imaginable. The problem is, as wee babes, our realities were shaped by the people around us, influencing our thought patterns and belief systems with THEIR thought patterns and belief systems. So if you grew up in a reality of, "Marriage sucks. Don't ever do it. Love is a sham," it may be extra-specially difficult to create a reality of true loving partnership. Ultimately, we need to retrain our brains to be able to BELIEVE that our perfect reality is possible BEFORE we can "manifest" it.

This mini-manifestation course is exactly what I need. I'm manifesting another business partner--I found, ahem, MANIFESTED one to fill that position I was posting about last week!!--and I have some blocks around it that I want to bust through. The course has 5 short videos that each provide a tip on how to cut the crap and get to the real story behind what you want, why you don't have it yet, and how to get it, fast. I highly recommend checking it out! It was a swift kick in the pants for me to take some inspired action.

This is what the Lucky Bitch looks like!  (Denise Duffield-Thomas)

IMG_6943.PNG

I almost don't go to the baths today cause I don't finish my morning duties until about 2:30 pm and have coaching calls starting at 5 pm. But in the final moment, I decide I am gonna fly over there for a 90-minute sesh. It is a 70-degree day, so it will get me out of the house, and it will also help with the (crazy amounts of) soreness from yesterday's kickass yoga class.

IMG_6962.JPG

Aaaaaand, the sesh is amazing, as usual. Tuesdays are much less crowded, no tourists with screaming babies, and a lot more personal soaking space.

Highlight of my day: walking by a dude at the baths blow drying his balls in the hallway. Only in Budapest? (Come on, gentlemen, be honest.)

After I return home and complete my calls, I ready myself to walk along the Danube to the Parliament, catching the sunset along the way. HOLY SMOKES, did I capture some glory. This city is unREAL.

IMG_6982.JPG
IMG_6987.JPG
IMG_7028.JPG

The Hungarian Parliament is one of THE most beautiful buildings my eyes have ever beheld.

Humans are freaking amazing. Someone designed and BUILT this structure so it wouldn't come crumbling down. And on top of that, they made it look like art. Just, wow.

IMG_7023.JPG
IMG_7034.JPG
IMG_7039.JPG
IMG_7048.JPG

As is becoming a bad habit, I didn't eat enough before I left the house, so I find myself uncomfortably famished after my trip uptown. I wander around looking for a spot to unwind, and my main wish is that there be outdoor seating at whatever eating establishment I find. I stumble upon a few places, but nothing speaks to me. I walk all the way back home, and locate a restaurant that's on my must-try list, but they only have indoor seating AND they are full.

I keep meandering, getting to the point where a Burger King sign looks like an oasis. Finally, I see a place with seats outside, and I steal a table. Sadly, my stomach drops when I realize it's a tourist trap. Oh the fuck well, it's my best option. And funnily enough, Lucky Bitch lady taught me earlier that I must be VERY specific with my desires so I don't manifest the Canal-street knock-off version, but I get the real Gucci leather instead (I really try not to buy leather, or Gucci, but you get what I mean). Well played, Universe. Lesson learned. I'll get crystal-flipping clear, just you wait.

Healing Journey - Days 30 + 31

Didja miss me yesterday??

Imma believe y'all said yes. 

I am a workaholic. I could be working every moment of every day, which isn't all that bad because I love my job. However, to avoid complete and utter burnout, I need to learn to rest. So, I have to schedule it in and hold myself accountable to it.

Yesterday, I did (almost) just that. I woke up on the earlier side, followed my morning routine--at least part of it--got a smoothie at Vegan Love and went to the baths for a few hours. I did have coaching calls in the afternoon, but I let myself off the hook with blogging. And with that freedom, I was able to go to bed before midnight, which was kind of amazing. I think all the creativity of blogging at night is making me want to stay awake and do more creative things. Though, in general, I do feel like I'm more tapped into my creative flow at night: my brain really doesn't turn on until about 3 PM, and gets cooking around 8 or 9 PM. Not entirely sure if that's a product of habit, or natural circadian rhythm. Either way, I am trying to slowly break myself because I start to feel seriously STRUNG OUT by 1 AM.

ANNNNND ... Sweet mother of Earth, I woke up before 10 AM today!!! Which means I could finally take that yoga class I've been eyeing!

BUT FIRST.

I had a dream last night that I decided to adopt a baby. I was in the subway in NYC, and I saw a baby sleeping in a baby carriage. The baby looked unattended, like someone had just left it there for me to adopt. I was so excited even though the baby was a little bit older than I had imagined adopting (like a year instead of just-birthed), and I took it home. A few hours later some very angry Hispanic man knocked on the door and told me that I stole a baby. I was very surprised since it definitely seemed like the baby was abandoned. He said the police were on their way, so he came inside and sat on the couch to wait. My friend Kristina was also looking to adopt a baby, but HA! I beat her to the punch. Also, it looked like I would make it to prison first, too. I hoped that the police would take mercy on me and see that I was doing a service for humanity, not stealing a baby.

BACK TO YOGA.

IMG_6941.JPG

Today was the first day I've stepped on a yoga mat in a good 5 months. In fact, it's the first time I've done any "real" exercise (other than my NYC-style speed walking around Budapest) in 5 months.

Confession: I do NOT like yoga. I find it incredibly boring. I am watching the clock every second, and I'm cheering inside when Savasana comes at long last. If the class is more than an hour long, I am usually ready to pull out my brain by the end, and this class was 90 MINUTES! 

I realize, however, that having such a strong aversion to something really means you desperately need it. And this overwhelming dislike is resistance (though, sometimes overwhelming dislike is because something really does suck, like having to scrape dog poop off the bottom of your shoe because some lazy jerk felt too superior to pick it up off the ground). SOOOO, I commit. I push through the resistance, and I show up.

I know it's recommended to practice yoga on an empty stomach. I haven't eaten yet, so I'm following instructions. Except I'm terrified I'll get hungry or pass out during the practice. Also, when I arrive, I discover it's HOT yoga. FARRRRKKK! My nose usually bleeds when I do hot yoga. So I don't DO hot yoga. Today, I am going to do hot yoga. I am committed.

It's me and 5 other ladies who look like they do hot yoga. A LOT.

I'm intimidated. Also, the teacher is Hungarian and directing us in Hungarian. I don't want my secret to be discovered--that I'm an outlander-- so I try to get through the whole class without anyone knowing I speak English. It doesn't last long because I'm doing all the poses wrong and not following her directions properly, so she personally comes over to my mat and starts speaking in furious Hungarian. And I think about just nodding and turning away, but she eventually asks if I speak English. Foiled! 

We get into some serious stretching and holding of poses for many minutes. I'm freaking out on the inside, but pretending that this is what I like to do for fun. I'm INTO it.

"Why is this so hard?!? Oh yeah, BREATHE, Mandy. Use those lungs. Allow oxygen to enter your body. You will be ok. Ohhhhh, look at that chick GOOOO with her one-legged squatting trick! She must be a yoga teacher, too. Ha-HAAAAAAA. I can do this next pose and you CAN'T. Gosh I'm so flexible, is everyone marveling at my superhuman stretching abilities?!? Ugh, I'm terrible at inversions. No one look at me. I'm gonna pretend I'm thirsty right now and drink the water. Ahhhhh, I WAS thirsty, so I wasn't lying. Wait, we are lying down right now. Is it over? Did I get the schedule wrong? Maybe it's only a 60- minute class, not 90. Wait, WUUUUUUUUUT? OMG it's SAVASANA already!!! She's turning off the lights! Awww man, I didn't push myself enough. I was reserving my strength for all the hard parts. Now it's over, and I didn't even sweat that much. 

OHHHHHHHH SHIT. OHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOO. 

We are getting up again. We are standing and bending over now.

It was a trick! It was NOT Savasana. It was a fake-out! FARK AGAIN!!! 

HOW AM I GONNA GET THROUGH THE NEXT 45 MINUTES?!?!?!

BREATHE. You're gonna be fine. It's only 45 minutes. Your body is a miracle. Train your mind."

And you know what. I was fine. I was more than fine. She didn't do the insane rounds of 40 million trillion sun salutations that are all the rage in the NYC power yoga classes I've been to. We STRETCHED. FOR A LONG TIME. I guess that's what yoga is supposed to be. And the heat wasn't even that hot. They were using space heaters so it could only get so strong in there. And I felt super great after. For, like, hours.

And clearly Hungarian yogis do it differently. TWO SAVASANAS. One in the middle, and a longer one at the end. At least now I know to prepare myself for the fake-out next time. 

Flying high from accomplishment and endorphins, I walk home with the renewed hope that I can stay committed to this practice. Allow my mind to settle. Transform boredom into peace, awareness, presence. Surrender to each moment.

On the way back to my Airbnb, I do a little grocery shopping, see some glorious sights, hang at the baths for 3 hours, and lead a webinar on using essential oils in pregnancy

I wanted to take a nap about 3 different times today, so peace out, my friends.

Healing Journey - Day 29

Bedtime was 3:30 am, waking time was 10:30 am. I was on the verge of getting a little cold, but I feel better today, even though I didn't get quite enough sleep. Took 2 OnGuard Plus Softgels before bed, and that seems to have given me a boost. I'm glad I woke up early though because I am going to see another castle today! I need to get there by 12:30 before my tourist pass expires. So I quickly pack, get dressed, and head for the Centrum to get a smoothie before taking the tram to the castle.

Different smoothie this time. I realized the one from yesterday had no bananas at all, they were pineapple chunks. Today's smoothie did have bananas. How do I know this? I Google-translated the menu last night. Learning to plan in advance.

IMG_6807.JPG

Tram takes forevs to show up, but I finally get on. This woman has her phone on speaker at an extremely high volume, and everyone is looking around at each other to register their mutual bewilderment and irritation.

Omg after thinking that no one ever checks the tram tickets, finally a guy came to check them!!! Holy shit, it scared the crap out of me. My pass expired 3 minutes earlier, and panic washed over me--do they arrest tourists for not buying their tickets before boarding and/or riding with an expired tourist pass? But, I rationalized internally, I HAD gotten on before it expired. If he seems mad, I'll start crying, or shouting, or I'll just run. He makes his way over to me, says something I don't understand, and I flash the pass. Shockingly, he seems satisfied and moves onto the next rider. My heart beats out of my chest for the next 5 minutes.

About 10 stops later, it's the Castle stop! I thought when I exited the tram, it would be clear where to go. It is not. I follow my instinct (and some other people), and start walking to the left. I also use my Apple map app to make sure my blue dot is going in the right direction. Seems like it!

IMG_6612.JPG
IMG_6637.JPG
IMG_6639.JPG

My blue dot moves closer and closer to the the "Diosgyor Castle" icon, and suddenly I turn the corner to reach the entrance, and ...

IMG_6632.JPG

I chose the wrong way around the Castle. Retrograde wins again.

At least I have 5 hours to kill before my train back to Budapest. I retrace my steps. Meanwhile I'm trudging around with a heavy bag, and I've had a 24 oz smoothie. Between my feet hitting the ground and the bag slapping against my kidneys, every step is like an earthquake in my bladder. Let's hope it doesn't chasm.

In roughly 100 steps, I discover that on my way around the wrong side of the Castle, I walked right past the pedestrian path to the entrance. Thank Goddess it was closer than I had imagined. I high tail it over to the toilette before cashing in my tourist pass for a free ticket.

IMG_6640.JPG

At this point, my pass is expired, but I'm hopeful that they'll take pity on the late-tram and wrong-way-around-the-Castle sob story. They don't. I'm here and will likely never visit again, so I swallow my frustration and shell out the cash for a ticket.

It was pretty cool! Totally felt like I was gettin my Game of Thrones on. I wanted to climb up to the highest towers, but I couldn't figure out how to get there, and I started getting unbearably hungry, like, HANGRY, so I left after about a half an hour of exploring the grounds.

IMG_6800.JPG
IMG_6714.JPG
IMG_6732.JPG
IMG_6728.JPG
IMG_6699.JPG
IMG_6684.JPG
IMG_6688.JPG
IMG_6859.JPG
IMG_6857.JPG
IMG_6858.JPG
IMG_6856.JPG
IMG_6694.JPG
IMG_6698.JPG
IMG_6860.JPG

AND WTF IS THIS THING? TERRIFYING. 

IMG_6853.JPG

Trucked it back over to the tram, marveling at how there are all these regular houses and modern cars just casually chillin around the castle.

IMG_6626.JPG
IMG_6635.JPG

Ok, this one's not regular at least. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_6854.JPG

I debate whether to go straight to the train station, or stop off in the city center to get some lunch. I decide the latter is the better choice since my blood sugar is drastically crashing.

Initially, I had intentions of going for a fancy lunch at this place called Drot Bistro, but since I spent more money than I had intended to, I opt to manifest a quick and cheap lunch spot, and voila! Doner King. This has been the furthest I've diverged from my cleanse. I waited too long to eat, and started losing my mind, so this was definitely happening. After I order and receive the food, I hide myself in an outside corner and eat my plate of fries and garlic sauce like a rabid animal.

IMG_6813.JPG

Honestly, in retrospect, I would only recommend the Miskolc Tourist Pass if you plan to hit it hard with visiting every major attraction offered through the pass. Otherwise, you're better off buying a la carte, especially since once your pass expires, you'll have to buy a la carte anyways. You're on a strict time-constraint--if you buy a 48-hour pass, once you activate it, it expires exactly 48 hours later--so if you end up with a late tram and then get lost on the way to the Castle and arrive 40 minutes after your pass expires like I did, you'll be annoyed and stressed. I ended up paying about 2000 forints more than if I I had just bought a 3-day transportation pass and paid for the Cave Bath, Lillafured Forest train and Diosgyor Castle separately. It's supposed to offer discounts at a number of restaurants but one of them didn't even honor my discount.

If I continue to be honest, Miskolc as a tourist destination is a stretch. If I were to do it again, I'd stay in Lillafured and not go into Miskolc at all. Or maybe go in to walk around the city center for 30 minutes and then have dinner at Dulo--that place was great, and I'd probably get sick of Hotel Palota's church restaurant food at some point, so variety would be ideal. This trip was worth it in that I can say I did it, I learned to live like a local in a short period of time, I visited a fairytale land, and I survived. NOW. Get me back to Budapest, pronto.

Problem is, it's only 3:00 pm and I booked a 6:30 pm train thinking I'd be all over the Cave Baths. I decide to go to hop on the tram and get to the train station early to see if they'll exchange my ticket, having no idea what the train schedule is ...

On the tram, I run into the guy who accosted me on the street the previous day. He gets up in my face AGAIN, and goes away when I respond in English. An older, posh Hungarian lady next to me shakes her head in disdain for him. Apparently, he is up to no good. He is with an equally sketchy friend, and they are both high as kites. It actually makes me really sad to see people like that. He must be suffering very deeply to be using drugs in the middle of the day on a beautiful weekend.

And RIGHT before I arrive at the station, another train cop asks to see my ticket. This time, my pass is legit expired. But I never could figure out where or how to buy tram tickets. So I show him my pass anyway, and he nods his head and moves on. I'm taking this as Spirit doing me a solid.

Turns out, I arrive FIVE MINUTES before the next train is scheduled to depart. The cashier doesn't speak English so I furiously gesture to her that I want to take the train right over there. She figures it out, I pay $0.30 to change the ticket, and then hop on 60 seconds before it pulls out of the station. What did I tell you?! Impeccable timing.

Oh, and I score a car to myself with a window seat.

IMG_6821.JPG

Then the screaming begins.

WHAT.

THE.

EVER. 

LOVING. 

FUCK.

I thought I was done with this! No more Cave baths, no more screaming!

What message is Spirit trying to send me?

I don't want to hear it right now.

I put in ear plugs.

Eventually the screaming dies down, and I settle into reading my book, You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Here's one of my favorite passages (first paragraph, excuse the blur):

IMG_6833.JPG

Train chugs into the station at 5:30, and I cannot get home fast enough. I had lofty plans of going to the baths, but I am exhausted, and decide to go home and pass out early. No, really this time.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to see this view.

IMG_6861.JPG

I posted early today so that I could go to bed early. I'm probably gonna take tomorrow off from blogging so I'll pour my heart out to you again on Monday!

Healing Journey - Day 28

Those little fuckers gave me pink eye.

Ok, so I can't EXACTLY blame it on the Cave Bath children, but I'm still annoyed about yesterday. I should be more annoyed by the parents for letting their kids run around like animals, spreading their disease. Isn't there common decency and respect in this world anymore? Yo, random Russian mom, you want some OnGuard or Melaleuca oil for your child's dirty hands and shizz?!?!

I guess something like pink eye was bound to happen. I'm spending hours and hours of time in hot, wet areas with hundreds of different, sweating people.

And I guess it's not EXACTLY pink eye. I woke up with a crusty eye and the lid is swollen but the whites are not really that pink. So I'll forgive them ... For now.

Went to bed at 2:30 AM again. I think I need to accept that this is my circadian rhythm in Europe, and stop fighting it. I slept 9 hours, and woke up refreshed, so what's the big deal, anyways? I mean, I'd like to start the day earlier but I'm still getting as many hours of waking time as if I went to bed early and woke up early. SURRENDERING.

IMG_6271.JPG

Showered, put on the same outfit from yesterday--I packed light remember?! And PS. don't tell my mom I wore the same outfit 2 days in a row. Ohhhh, the horror--and took the bus to the "Centrum" in search of a juice or smoothie. I seemed to have located a place through a Google search but when I arrived at said location, I only saw a giant Spar supermarket, kinda like Shop Rite or Super Fresh. Some Hungarian dude on the street got all up in my face about I have no idea what, so I ducked into the store to escape. Lo and behold, the juice place, called Nektar Lebar, was inside! It was like a mom and pop Jamba Juice except no one shouted at you, "Welcome to Jaaaaahhhmm-BAH!"

Got the Green Day--no idea what's in it cause the menu was in Hungarian but I think I saw her throw in some banana and spinach--drank it in 2 seconds, and felt incredibly energized. And it was $2.50.

IMG_6509.JPG

It was a beautiful, sunny, WARM day, and I was psyched for the adventure: The Lillafured Forest Train!! Praying to Goddess this is more successful than the Cave Baths.

I've been trying reaaaaaally hard not to look like a tourist. I feel vulnerable since I'm flying solo. So, I get embarrassed and a little nervous when I get out at all the tourist spots. Like, is anyone tracking me? My Hungarian Airbnb host said she didn't want to frighten me but I'm worth a small fortune in Hungary. I'm not sure if that means ransom for kidnapping, or worse ... Needless to say, I've been extra cautious out here in the country. 

I'm now feeling like a baller cause I've figured out the transpo system. It's actually extremely convenient. The bus dropped me off right in the center of town, the Spar/juice place was right there, and the tram to the forest train was also right there. I hop on that tram. 

About 14 stops later, I arrive at LAEV, the Forest Train stop. At first, it's unclear where to swipe my tourist pass for a free ticket. There's a gaggle of folks smoking outside, and each of them seems to be wearing national park ranger-type clothing, and one guy is in full-on army gear. (And, he's cute.)

I walk in circles for a bit, looking casual and totally disinterested in getting on the forest train. Then, I see a couple open a door that was previously locked, so I run up behind them and walk in like I'm their daughter. Ticket counter!

I show the cashier my pass, and she lets out a disgruntled sigh. She starts saying something in Hungarian and her male workers buddies start cracking up. Pretty sure she's cursing me. Cursing increases, laughter crescendos. Welp, I'm pleased I could offer you all so much joy on this fine Spring day. She gives me the ticket, and I sheepishly slink away to board the train.

I slough off the shame the minute I step inside the train car. This is like every kid's dream--to travel in an old-timey Choo-Choo train!!!! I'm so titillated, I can barely contain myself. Smiles splay across my face for daaaaayyyys.

IMG_6584.JPG
IMG_6299.JPG
IMG_6296.JPG
IMG_6510.JPG

On the way to Lillafured, I notice a little girl and her grandma walking in the distance. As soon as the train approached, the girl stopped in her tracks, overwhelmingly in awe of the green machine locomoting towards her. There's nothing like witnessing (a quiet) child light up after seeing something magical. I TOLD YOU! Dreams comin true today. #friyay

IMG_6586.JPG
IMG_6325.JPG
IMG_6355.JPG
IMG_6362.JPG
IMG_6381.JPG

We arrive in Lillafured. It is GORGEOUS. Like a land out of a fairytale. Perfectly sunny. Warm-ish. Castle-y.

IMG_6409.JPG
IMG_6416.JPG
IMG_6421.JPG
IMG_6463.JPG
IMG_6465.JPG

I want to immediately start wandering around but I'm famished so I stroll up to the Hotel Palota, and I ask about food, immediately. The concierge tells me the restaurant is in the basement--interesting--and I take the elevator down to find it. I see a sequence of "Etterem" signs, and keep following them until I reach a giant wooden door. I peek through the glass, and it looks empty. NOOOO. Is it closed?! I check the handle, and it's not locked, so I push the door open, and a waitress is standing by the bar. No one else in sight. She confirms it is indeed open. Sweet Jesus, I have the place to myself. I guess Goddess is making up for the insanity of yesterday's Cave bath excursion.

I sit, chug some water with Lemon oil--I've typically had about 400 different liquids by now so I'm noticing how parched I am--and order one of the specials. Meat, again. Keep in mind, this is a city in which McDonalds pops up in a Google search as a vegan option. I'm not vegan anyways, though I adhere to a plant-based diet as much as possible, especially on this cleanse. And don't worry, I ordered salad and a plate of pickles to help with digestion of the meat stuffs.

FullSizeRender.jpg

The waitress disappears, and I start to hear quiet clinking in the kitchen. Dawns on me that the waitress is also the chef. Oh, WAIT! Nope, I hear another voice. There's two of them in there. 

It's very pleasant in this restaurant. Music is playing, the kind that makes you feel transported to the land of Shakespeare. Intricate stained-glass windows, pews, crosses--hold up, is this a restaurant designed like a church?! COOL.

IMG_6457.JPG
IMG_6460.JPG
IMG_6453.JPG
IMG_6587.JPG

Food comes. I wasn't sure what to expect since it's a touristy location that makes its money from weddings, and usually the food at those places sucks. And I must say, it was all very delicious.

IMG_6461.JPG

I ate and lingered for a few before setting out to explore the grounds. I need to repeat to you that it is THE MOST PERFECT DAY. Not a cloud in sight, not cold, not hot, quiet, serene ... PER.FECT.

There's really not much in the town except the Hotel Palota, but it doesn't freakin matter. It's all I need today. I take my time, weaving in and out of the nooks and crannies of the terraced gardens. I walk gingerly down to the Lake Hamori, and it is the epitome of serene. Green mountains, colorful kayaks, placid water, blooming trees. And the photo opp of the Hotel from the lake was just surreal. I couldn't get enough pics.

IMG_6471.JPG
IMG_6494.JPG
IMG_6468.JPG
IMG_6441.JPG
IMG_6497.JPG
IMG_6473.JPG
IMG_6482.JPG
IMG_6559.JPG
IMG_6514.JPG
IMG_6518.JPG
IMG_6531.JPG

Have I mentioned there were no kids in sight at this place?!? Fuck the Cave baths, Lillafured is where it's at.

FullSizeRender.jpg

My timing on this trip has been impeccable. While in France, I wanted to go check out the Eiffel Tower on a particular day, and decided against it. The next day, a friend mentioned that I never would have gotten through due to the marathon. Then, I thought about going on the Forest Train yesterday, but something was telling me, no, go Friday. Well, yesterday's weather was a shitshow, and today was Heaven on Earth. Let's keep this up, Intuition.

Speaking of timing, I experienced such retrograde hilarity today. Now, a retrograde started on the morning of my birth, so I actually experience quite a bit of prosperity and synchronicity during retrogrades. However, I do still get caught up in having to repeat things endlessly. Before dusk, I walk up to the bus station to catch the bus, and realized I've missed it. Next bus is 37 minutes past the next hour. So I walk down the hill to the hotel and check emails. Roughly 45 minutes later, I run back up the hill realizing it's arriving in 7 minutes. I arrive, short of breath, and realize I read the schedule wrong--everything is in military time and I confused all the numbers--and there is no bus for an hour. I take this as a sign I'm meant to keep exploring. I walk back to the lake, and take some near-dusk pics. Damn, can I meet a Hungarian husband just so we have a reason to get married here?!?! Finally, it's time for the bus, and I'm finally right. Ah, retrograde, you tricky bastard, you.

Bus takes me to the city center, and I walk to a restaurant called Dulo that the handsome Hungarian Airbnb host recommended. It's cozy. And very LA. The only other people there are English-speaking. Plus, they are playing singer-songwriter cover songs of Madonna and the Beatles and that Dynamite song ("we gon rock this club, we gon go all night, we gon light it up...", that song). AAAAND, my waiter is extremely attentive and speaks great English. I feel at home.

IMG_6578.JPG
IMG_6577.JPG
IMG_6583.JPG

At 10 PM, I'm ready to go home and take a hot bath. Yes, I knooooow, it's Friday and this used to be the time I'd be getting ready to go to a bar at midnight. Those days are long gone. I want to curl up with a book, and fall asleep at 2:30 AM as per usual. (What will I do for those next 4 1/2 hours that I could be sleeping? UMMM, yeahhh, you know, probs, I'll, I will, kinda, like, do, I mean, you know, uh, byeeeeeee.)

Oh, and I don't have pinkeye. My eye is totally fine now.

Healing Journey - Day 27

If you saw my bedcovers in the morning, you would think I was possessed in the night. Seriously, how can a person be so violent with a defenseless down comforter? Maybe that demon is still in there ...

I didn't fall asleep until 3:15 AM. With good reason. I was all a-twitter because I was waking up early to take an out-of-town trip to a cute little town called Miskolc. There's a CAVE BATH. I may never return.

Having not taken any public transpo yet since I prefer to walk everywhere, I was a tad anxious about finding my way to the Keleti train station in time for my 10:30 am departure.

I was up an at 'em by 8:30, slightly groggy but pumped, and smartly left myself enough time to prepare my hot water and lemon, and coconut milk smoothie. This kind of preparation never happens. I usually wait until the very final moment to get out of bed, and then never have time for the readiness part. I typically run out the door, purse overflowing, no makeup on, hair uncombed, forgetting something important on the kitchen counter and having to run all the way back up a super steep flight of stairs and then also ending up sweaty. This is one of the reasons I've begun investing only in stretchy pants - no buttons=less readiness-time required=more time in bed. (The other reason is, why torture myself with buttons and muffin tops?)

But TODAY. What success!! I got to the train station at 9:50 AM!

IMG_6142.JPG

I'm gonna go ahead and declare it: I'm turning over a new leaf. I literally don't think I've ever gotten somewhere with 30 minutes to spare. I'm a perpetual late person. It often baffles me that I ever get ANYWHERE. I get so lost in time--maybe I'm just really a genius practicing Einstein time--that it's become a joke amongst my family members. I live in Mandyland. "It's a wonderful place to be." Come on over and visit sometime!

IMG_4729.JPG

The train ride to Miskolc was 2 hours through Hungarian farmland. I was originally seated next to a very unfriendly Hungarian lady, but it wasn't a popular time of day to travel, so I was able to snag a row to myself. INTROVERT WIN!

When we pulled into the Miskolc-Tiszai train station, I had to quickly activate this tourist pass I bought which gives free access to public transport and other discounts. There was free wifi on the train, and I wasn't sure what kind of connection the Miskolc station would offer so I lingered and activated while other passages disembarked. I was standing near the door, and it started to shut so I instinctively stuck my arm in it. I look behind me and the sadistic train repair guy is staring at me with his finger on the button. Message received, dude. I disembark.

Nothing is in English. There are vague pictures of stuff that are meant to indicate things but they make no sense. I wander around outside until I see the tram I'm supposed to take. I hop on and have no idea what to do with my pass. So I pretend I don't exist and sit down.

Next is a transfer to bus 2. I must wait outside for this. FUUUUUUUUK. Hungary is cold. It's like -100 Celsius and my fingers wanna fall off.

Eventually we get to a stop where everyone gets off, so I get off, too. My herd mentality is on point.

I wander around yet again, and finally determine I am indeed in the right place. I make my way into a park, and stumble upon ... THE CAVE BATH.

IMG_6153.JPG

I try not to look like I'm running inside, but I am.

No idea where to go, nothing in English once again, but fortunately there's an info desk and the guy can make out what I'm saying for the most part, and escorts me upstairs to show me around.

Oooooooh I get my own changing room! I'm used to changing with 50 slippery-wet women who are accidentally slapping boobs against butts as they lean over to put on shoes or take off used swimsuits. This is a major upgrade.

Sadly, the Pyrex container filled with the contents of my lunch shattered at some point along the way. I ate it anyway. Preeeeeeetty sure I also ate some glass. Fiber! It's good to vary your source of fiber!

I eat in the changing room. I change in the changing room. I prepare myself for the majesty of the baths in the changing room.

And I enter ...

IMG_6157.JPG

The Cave Bath. The Capital of Why People Hate Other People's Children. (Sad and mad face.)

To its credit, the Cave bath is very cool-looking. You dip into a slightly-warmer-than-cold swimming pool and get carried through a maze inside of a cave. But it's a SWIMMING POOL. I was just outside in Siberia, and this shit is NOT WARM. I'm freaking out. I want to leave. Why did I book two nights in this town???? How the fuck did I even get here anyways?!!!!

I take a breath. "Spirit, show me what it is I need to see here."

IMG_6265.JPG

I allowed myself to be carried by the water's flow, and I float around a corner to see a random staircase. I walk up. There are winding hallways with green arrows and ascending numbers. I find another pool. It's SLIGHTLY warmer. I think, "ok I can do this." Then the screaming begins. I think I'd take ridiculous, partying frat boys over shouting, splashing children having fun. NOT HAVING IT.

Moments like this make you appreciate what you've already got. Gellert: WARM. SUBDUED. SPACIOUS. AN ACTUAL REAL FUCKING THERMAL BATH.

I have a sense I'm missing something. There has GOT to be a warmer option. I set out in search, and 10 steps later, my eyes fall upon the Mecca of all Meccas: JACUZZI. Thank you, oh glorious Italian invention. (Read about the guy who invented it).

In anticipation, and in dread of disappointment, I walk over to the jacuzzi, and lower myself in. AHHHHH. At last.

SPLASH. SCREAM. SQUEAL. SPLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWFUUUUUUUUUCCCKKNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Where is my relaxing thermal bath oasis?! Take me back to Budapest. I want it NOW, mummy. I want it NOOWWWWW.

I made the most of it. I will not return to the cave baths even though I brought 2 extra swimsuits. Tomorrow I'm gonna take a forest train to a seemingly adorable town in, well, the forest.

I took the bus back into the main town--still clueless about what to do with my transpo ticket--and meandered around the city center in sub-degree temperatures search of food.

IMG_6195.JPG
IMG_6216.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg

Confession: I ate meat and drank wine tonight. I now understand why freezing-climate communities subsist on meat and potatoes and booze. It warms you the eff up. My body craved it on a primal level that I cannot explain other than "ARRRUGGHNNGG. MEAT. WINE." I heeded it. If I'm learning anything on this journey, it's to trust and follow that gut feeling (even if it's feeling like it wants dead flesh and fermented grapes). Good news, I started with salad. Winning?

IMG_6267.JPG

I was supposed to get a 10% discount on the check because I bought that tourist pass. When they gave me the check, I asked if it was discounted. Yes, they said. I had a feeling they were bullshitting me. And when I looked closer at the check, I saw that my feeling was correct. Pulled one over on the naive American girl. I was stewing about it for the whole taxi ride to my Airbnb. Mostly I was mad at myself, not them, for not speaking up for myself. Why did I just roll over? Clocking that as an area for improvement.

The taxi dropped me off in front of what looked like an abandoned building, with amateur-looking graffiti decorating the walls. Looming out front was an attractive Hungarian man in a jacket and beanie. I registered that this was my Airbnb host, waiting to check me into the apartment. He was impressed with how little I packed, and I must say, this is another leaf turned. I typically take after my mother and pack my entire closet "just in case I want options."

Guys, this place is like a hotel. Newly renovated, THREE huge bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen, AND a mini bar. Though, surprisingly I had no interest in the alcohol. I fulfilled my booze quota at dinner.

If my Budapest place is like a retro 70s ode to Oscar-Wilde, this is like the Andy Warhol/meets-IKEA fantasy of Airbnbs. Each room has a city theme, and HELLO, can you say, Destiny?! Paris, London and New York--the 3 destinations on my trip aside from Budapest.

IMG_6269.JPG
IMG_6246.JPG
It's just like my view when I was in actual Paris!!! 

It's just like my view when I was in actual Paris!!! 

And I could take a proper HOT FREAKIN BATH. I can never bathe enough. I'm a Cancer, and I'd live in water if I could. So I'm taking advantage of this sweet bath setup, and bathing in Balance and Serenity oils before bedtime.

IMG_6270.JPG

Going to bed early tonight. Seriously! (Don't quote me on that.)

Healing Journey - Day 26

So yesterday I was releasing demons, and today was a little more chill, relatively speaking.

It was incredibly rainy, windy, cold, and overall nasty outside today. 

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Started the day with my morning routine:

  • Oil pulling with raw coconut oil and OnGuard essential oil
  • Hot water with lemon
  • Detox tea
  • "Juicy Juice" (beet, carrot, apple, celery, cucumber ginger, lemon)
  • Smoothie (coconut milk, frozen banana, cinnamon, cacao, DDR Prime)

I know what you're thinking. And YES. I have to pee every 20 flipping minutes for the rest of the day after imbibing all these liquids. Especially because I'm drinking a GALLON of sulfur water once I get to the baths. (Are catheters really that painful? Isn't it time for adult diapers to start trending?!)

Look what I discovered! The Hungarian Airbnb lady has glasses in the shape of hearts!!!! I'm getting signs of love all over the place.

On top of that, I charged my tarot cards with my heart gem stone, and I PULLED THE LOVERS CARD. Watch out, fellas ...

I went to the baths as usual, got some dry sauna action on, and then got an aromatherapy massage with jasmine oil. I think I earned all that, you know, with purging Satan and all.

Went back to my new fave spot, Vegan Love, and got the shiitake mushroom burger. Only problem was they put some fake vegan cheese on it that looked like mucus, and I almost puked. I reaaaaaaaally can't do the fake cheese thing. Just, no.

Rest of the evening consisted of hiding from the weather, steaming up some veggies and tossing them with vegan pesto (NO FAKE CHEESE IN IT, thank you very much), finishing a few coaching calls, and packing for a 2-night getaway--I'm gonna go bathe in a cave!!! 

Stay tuned for pics and updates ... I may not report back again until Saturday ...

Healing Journey - Day 25

Today was a doozy.

I didn't get quite enough sleep, but I did wake up earlier than usual, giving me enough time to get to the baths for 2 hours before my afternoon calls.

Took time for my morning ritual, juice, and smoothie in my brand new Oscar-Wilde-style RECLINING chair. (Just discovered I can lean back in this sweet seat.)

For my birthday last year, I treated myself to a bevy of new crystals. I was a novice and my sweet friend (find her on insta @healingwithjenn) set me up with a series of gorgeous pieces based on what I was working on in my life. This crystal pictured below was one of them.

As I set out for my European excursion, I knew I wanted to bring crystals with me, and I couldn't bring them all. So I had to engage in a little Sophie's choice action. I energetically felt pulled to bring this one, and only one other. In re-reading what Jenn said about this crystal, I'm amazed at how my intuition was at work!

"This big green/blue heart is fuchsite and kyanite (a gem that has two crystals in one!). This precious crystal is mined only from my source and carved specifically for them, so is a rare find. Fuchsite is known as "the healer's stone," and Kyanite is an excellent stone for meditation and attunement. It will not retain negative vibrations or energy, therefore never requiring clearing. Kyanite aligns all chakras and subtle bodies instantly. It provides balance of yin-yang energy and dispels blockages, moving energy gently through the physical body. This combination is perfect for deep heart healing and communication."

I'm realizing that my "healing journey" that I initially thought was for something else is turning out to be a heart-healing one. How perfect is this gem!!

And this is my new version of Juicy Juice (who remembers this stuff?!?): 1 beet, 1 apple, 4-5 celery stalks, 2-3 carrots, 1/2 lemon, square of ginger. Raw, enzyme-rich, and natural plant sugars ONLY.

I was a little bit pressed for time getting to the baths today since I had trouble focusing during my morning ritual and got off track. Then I had to be back by 4:30/5 for an ancestral clearing session that I was doing by Skype (clearing whhhhaaaa?! I know, right?!).

Fortunately, I managed to squeeze in 90 minutes of bathing, but it was rushed and not as relaxing as usual. Then I sprinted over to Vegan Love to grab a delish vegan sweet potato burger on a gluten-free bun. SCORE.

IMG_6102.JPG

I was cutting it RILL close to my 5 PM session, so I shoved a few bites of burger into my face, and then logged onto Skype, sweaty from running home and windblown from walking over the bridge.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. A dear friend of mine referred me to a man named Steve who guides people through ancestral healing. She recounted a very powerful experience that she had during a session with him, and based on what she expressed to me, I asked no further questions and just booked a 60-minute session. 

I won't go into all the details right now because much of what came up is very private and I'm still processing, but essentially I felt like a demon was trying to escape from my body. LITERALLY. A demon that consisted of pain and suffering of tens of thousands of years of human existence. I experienced images of past lives, and early childhood memories. I basically sobbed for 90 minutes straight, and the physical tension I've experienced in my jaw, tongue and throat ever since I can remember was released by at least 80%. I've never experienced a physical shift in energy that was this powerful and fast-acting. The shield I've wielded to repress feelings of anger, pain, and shame and prevent myself from fully receiving love, connection, and prosperity is beginning to come down. I'm understanding all the ways I sabotage myself because I believe I don't deserve to be alive and experience joy and abundance. I'm also starting to realize that my choice to come to the baths in Budapest was a way for me to heal my soul on a much deeper level than I could have ever imagined.

I booked another session for next week. It's time to go deep.

Healing Journey - Day 24

Adventures in Airbnb-ing!

Last night when I came home from the baths around 8:15, it was pitch dark outside. I sloughed off all my outerwear, got on my magenta slippers, and went into the study to start some work.

As I flipped on the light switch, the chandelier nearly exploded. A fuse blew out, and it blew out the lights in the entire apartment except the kitchen. Pitch black inside to match the outside.

I was too exhausted to deal with it, so I just walked around with the flashlight on my phone on. It was kind of like inside camping in a foreign country!

Today, I had to fix it. 

The Airbnb lady was very patient with me on the phone while I tried to figure out what circuit breakers to play with. It's a 100-year-old building, so I didn't want to chance blowing the place up. Eventually, I had to climb THIS ladder, and poke the breakers with a broom. I nearly peed myself. I do NOT enjoy heights. Nor do I enjoy poking potentially fatal electrical devices.

It ended up being easy to fix, and I felt accomplished.

I then got started on my morning ritual: burned some Palo Santo, prayed, journaled, and manifested with some crystals under the warmest blankie ever.

Juiced, smoothied, and mosied on over to the Bath house. Look at this cool castle built into the rock!!

On my way to the bathing area, a Hungarian attendant greeted me with a "Hello." I've become seriously confused about what language I speak--having just been in Paris, hanging with some Argentinians, and being exposed to a whole range of other tourists--that I responded with "Hola!" WTF.

I've got my changing routine down to a science. I come already dressed in my swimsuit, with just a pair of paints over it, and my hoodie and jacket. My shoes are jellies, so they are comfy to walk in and also double as flip flops. I also have all my bathing necessities in a bag inside of a larger bag, so I can easily lift it out, and the larger bag has my wallet and keys in it, which I keep in the locker. So I'm in and out of the crowded dressing room in 60 seconds flat. BOOM.

For some reason, I was feeling woozy in the baths today. I really couldn't stand the hot, hot bath for very long. And now, 6 hours later, I'm wondering if it's a detox response. I need to drink a ton more water tomorrow, and take it easy (aka, do less work).

I left around 5:30 pm and headed home to do work (haha). To get there, I have to cross over this bridge every time. And every time I marvel at it. 

I led a Chakra-balancing webinar tonight! Wanna watch it? https://youtu.be/dNKtoQUisq8

I keep saying, "I'm going to bed at 11:30 pm tonight, for reals this time!" It hasn't happened yet. Normally it's 2:30 am when I crash, and tonight, it's only 1:30 am, so ... PROGRESS!

Healing Journey - Day 23

HAAAAAAAAAAAA.

I didn't follow the schedule today. AT ALL.

But, it's Easter!

No, I don't celebrate it, but virtually everyone else in this city does.

So I went to the outdoor markets, took myself to brunch, went and saw a castle, and loved every minute of it.

I think J.C. would approved of these choices. I'm celebrating life, and it's his re-birthday, after all.

I DID, however, eat very well, start a morning ritual, and go to the baths. So, there.

I'm very excited about the morning ritual. It's something I've been wanting to cultivate for months, but distraction has always gotten the better of me. This morning, I created a little Zen Den in my Oscar-Wilde-style writing corner, made some tea, used my heart-chakra-opening oil blend, burned some Palo Santo, and prayed and journaled. It was divine.

IMG_5896.JPG

Before I made the 40-minute walk to lunch (I don't believe in using public transportation when I'm in a new city since walking is the best way to discover it. Plus, EXERCISE), I had a fresh juice of carrot, apple, beet, celery, cucumber and ginger. Enzymes were flyin' high. I made a booking at a cute little cafe called Slow Foodiez, and enjoyed a delicious raw veggie wrap.

Ahead of me was a 30-minute walk to check out a new bath house called Szechenyi, which is like an amusement park of thermal baths. On Saturday nights, they have these big bath parties with popular DJs and everyone gets cray. 

AND IT'S ACROSS THE STREET FROM A CASTLE!!! 

Happy Easter to me.

I wandered around the grounds for a while, drooling at all the food I'm not supposed to eat, and managed to resist THESE.

AND these--balm to an Irish girl's soul.

I'm telling you, I am COMMITTED to this cleanse. (Please Goddess give me the strength to stay committed to this cleanse.)

Don't you want to just live here?!?!

After all that, I didn't go to the new bath house. The line was like 100 people long. So I made the hour-long walk back to my regular spot--the quiet, unsexy, and low-key Gellert.

I spent about an hour and 45 minutes popping back and forth between the 36 degree and 40 degree Celsius (96.8 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit) pools, and started getting woozy. 

Drank tons of the sulfur water, and implemented a part of the protocol that I HAD TOTALLY FORGOTTEN ABOUT. Once I'm finished bathing, I'm supposed to slather myself with apple cider vinegar to neutralize the pH of my skin, and then mix fractionated coconut oil with Ginger essential oil, and rub that in on top to warm up the skin and prevent reabsorption of the toxins into the cells. Glad I remembered that. All this work for naught--I probably would go ahead and jump off the bridge in this picture.

No I wouldn't. Life is too damn beautiful.

Plus, I'd miss salad.

Healing Journey - Day 22

I ROCKED my cleanse today.

I woke up earlier than usual, having gone to bed much earlier last night, and I stuck to my plan like whoa.

  • Hot water with lemon upon arising
  • 1 hour later: fresh juice - beet, carrot, apple, cucumber, celery, ginger
  • 1 hour later: smoothie - banana, mango, coconut milk, cinnamon, cleansing tea, honey, raw cacao, DDR prime PLUS took 1/2 dose of all supplements
  • Bathed for 1 hour and 45 minutes in the thermal water + drank two 32 oz containers of sulfur water
  • When I got back: gluten-free toast with avocado, olive oil, herbamare, nutritional yeast and the second dose of supplements
  • Drank detox tea along with more sulfur water
  • 5 hours after the toast: little gem salad with tomatoes, olive oil, herbamare, nutritional yeast
  • 45 minutes later: steamed veggies - onion, garlic, carrot, parsnip, broccoli, turnip with olive oil

Amazingly, I did not feel famished in the evening like I normally do. My acupuncturist recently told me that I'm severely dehydrated, so I've been hyper focused on hydration. Sometimes our minds can mistake thirst for hunger, so with all the sulfur water I'm drinking, I think things are getting back on track.

THIS IS HOW I FEEL RIGHT NOW.

This guy looks like he could use a dose of his own medicine (he spurts out the sulfurous drinking water).

More Budapest beauty on my walk home from bathing!

Bathing all day is exhausting. DON'T LAUGH. It really is. Tonight was another low-key night. I did work. No surprise there.

I have become obsessed with my Airbnb apartment's Oscar-Wilde-style sitting corner, pictured below, and I intend to sit there all the time now.

I'm signing off, and plan to follow the same schedule tomorrow. Wish me luck (I hate schedules).

Healing Journey - Day 21

Friday was rough.

My head was throbbing most of the night. I was likely dehydrated from thermal bathing all day, walking a lot, eating salty trout, and drinking wine. OOOHHHH, and that allergic reaction might have had something to do with it. I woke up multiple times throughout the night, and finally took some of my doTERRA Deep Blue polyphenol complex supplements, and within 30 minutes, I was asleep. I wish I hadn't been so lazy and done that 5 hours earlier!

I didn't get out of bed until 1:30 PM, and spent the day holed up in my apartment, nursing myself back to normality. Didn't see the light of day, but by nighttime, I actually felt pretty great. Here's what I did:

  • 32 oz water upon arising
  • Hot water with lemon
  • Cleansing tea from the witch doctor
  • 5:00 PM: smoothie - banana, coconut milk, cinnamon, honey, raw cacao with all my supplements (multi-vitamin, omega, adaptogenic herbs, heavy metal cleanse, methylated vitamin B)
  • More water
  • 7:30 PM: toasted gluten-free bread with avocado, herbamare and nutritional yeast
  • More water
  • 10:00 PM: traditional Hungarian beef goulash (SO delicious and healing)
  • 2 Terrazyme digestive enzymes
IMG_5764.JPG

Around 7:30 PM, I finally got out of the house, and walked over the bridge to Buda Castle. To get there, I took a very steep tram up to the top, which was both terrifying and exhilarating. Took time to wander around the grounds, snap shots of the incredible view and architecture, and then split. 

I was pooped. Grabbed some goulash at this awesome restaurant, and called it a night. 

Healing Journey - Day 20

I'm a wee bit behind on posting. I decided to have a night on the town Thursday night--very anti-cleanse--and it took me 2 days to recover! It wasn't even that I got crazy drunk or anything. I actually had either an allergic reaction to something I ate OR I experienced something similar to a Herx response (which is basically detoxing too quickly, resulting in feverishness, rashes, headaches, etc.) after being in the in the thermal baths at Gellert for 2 hours. I had a serious migraine all night Thursday night, so I didn't sleep well, and Friday ended up being mellow.

I started Thursday (4/13/17) off with full my cleansing agenda. Here's a snapshot:

  • Upon awaking: Oil pulling with coconut oil and OnGuard essential oil
  • Lots of water and 2 Terrazyme digestive enzymes
  • 30 minutes later: fresh juice with apples, carrots, cucumber and ginger
  • 1 hour later: smoothie with coconut milk, banana, raw cacao, cinnamon and DDR Prime 
  • Before my next meal, I had 2 large containers of sulfur water from the drinking fountain at the baths
  • 2 hours after the smoothie: raw energy bar with dates, cashews, raisins, cacao
  • 4 hours later (I waited too long to eat): trout, spinach, garlic, and Rose wine (not totally part of the cleanse protocol, oops)

I was feeling pretty great. I stuck to my agenda most of the day.

And the baths were amazing!!! BEAUTIFUL architecture. I felt transported back a few centuries. The baths themselves were incredibly soothing, and BONUS!--your fingers don't get all pruney like in the regular bath since the water is so rich in minerals.. If I hadn't gotten voraciously hungry, I could've stayed all day.

So, around 4:30 PM, I made the (slightly chilly from wet hair) journey home, got cleaned up, and headed into the night.

On the way to dinner, I caught a live and lively band playing music in the square. There is a huge Spring festival happening through next weekend, so this crew was part of the show. The musical instruments were wound with Christmas lights, and all the musicians were in great spirits, which infected the entire crowd--smiles all around from ear to ear.

And I saw a ferris wheel!! Who needs the London Eye, anyways.

I was headed to this falafel place that I did NOT find on Yelp because Yelp doesn't exist here (Grrrrrr), but it seemed decent from the research I did online. However, when I walked up to the entrance, it looked terrifying and I did not go in. I fortunately was in the restaurant mecca part of town, so I found a cute place nearby that looked cozy (and safe).

As I was sitting at the bar of Getto Gulyas, having just enjoyed an extremely healthy meal and reveling in my willpower against eating all the bread, I started to feel very hot. Like, VERY hot. As if I had gotten a raging sunburn from being out in the outdoor baths for an hour with no sunscreen or shade. I went to the restroom, and when I looked in the mirror, I was pretty freaked out. My entire chest and face was lit up in a crazy rash. I rushed back to my seat and started googling "hospitals near me." However, my throat wasn't closing up, so I decided it wasn't an emergency. So, of course, I went to a club. (!!!!!!!!!!!)

I was SOOOO close to this place I'd been hearing about called Szimpla Kert that's known as Budapest's most famous "ruin bar." I walked 30 minutes to get here, and I was determined to see it, death or no death. And it was pretty friggin awesome. They took a giant warehouse and built different bars in nooks of the building. There is random art everywhere, and in the center of the place is a big outdoor courtyard for drinking, dancing, and socializing. I was in awe of it all, and wandered around for a couple hours, occasionally fighting off drunken male tourists who were clearly not used to the higher alcohol content in European liquor. I got my dance on as well, and I felt satisfied that I had some fun before things get real with the cleanse protocol.

IMG_5821.JPG

Healing Journey - Day 19

My first full day in Budapest, and I spend the day erranding. The entire city is going to shut down for Easter, so I'm basically stocking up like it's an apocalypse. (Or the second coming of Jesus Christ.)

My first stop was the Great Market Hall. It was totally overwhelming, and since my cleanse started today, I had a bladder full of a 16 oz green juice and a huge bottle of water. So needless to say, I could not deal. And to use the bathroom here, you had to pay in Forints, and I still have to exchange my cash. I zipped through and zipped out just as quickly to go straight home for the loo.

After my pit stop, I walked to the Bio ABC store to stock up on nutritional yeast and herbamare, along with some other cleanse-friendly items. On the way ... SPRING! Flowers are in full bloom.

I ate all my meals at home today!!! 

Started with a juice made from the fresh fruits and veggies that my sweet Airbnb host left for me--apples, carrots, and cucumbers.

An hour later, I had a banana--also gifted by the host.

For lunch, it was a bit skimpy since I was rushing to get food put away before a coaching session: gluten-free crisps and olive oil.

I had to slam a snack because dinner wasn't going to happen until much later, so I had a gluten-free Hungarian health bar that was surprisingly tasty.

Around 6 PM, I loaded up, put on my walking shoes, and booked it an hour north to see a play by one of my fellow Columbia grads! Synchronistically, this show just happened to be playing only one night--tonight--as part of the big Spring arts festival, AND it was in English. Another Columbia grad mentioned the show to me, and I've actually never met the grad who created it. So cool that I got to see theater directly upon arrival to this city! I'm taking it as a sign I'm on the right path.

Since I have no Forints, no Yelp, and no idea how to use the public transportation system, I walked ALL THE WAY HOME. It took me an hour. But, I got to marvel at this!

Dinner was a giant salad with olive oil, tomatoes, leafy greens, and the aforementioned herbamare and nutritional yeast. I followed that with 2 slices of toasted gluten-free bread and olive oil. I need to stock up on more veggies to keep my options fresh rather than packaged--the organic spot had a disappointing selection, so back to the Great Market in the morning!